Even as the IRS faces growing heat over Lois G. Lerner and the tea party targeting scandal, a government watchdog said Wednesday it’s pursuing cases against three other tax agency employees and offices suspected of illegal political activity in support of President Obama and fellow Democrats.
In one case the Office of Special Counsel, which investigates federal employees who conduct politics on government time, said it was “commonplace” in a Dallas IRS office for employees to have pro-Obama screensavers on their computers, and to have campaign-style buttons and stickers at their office.
Another IRS employee in Kentucky has agreed to serve a 14-day suspension for blasting Republicans in a conversation with a taxpayer.
“They’re going to take women back 40 years,” the IRS employee said in a conversation that was recorded. The employee also said that “if you vote for a Republican, the rich are going to get richer and the poor are going to get poorer.”
That employee went on to tell the taxpayer she knew she wasn’t supposed to be voicing her political opinions, and asked the taxpayer not to say anything.
More at the link.
I used to see and hear some of this sort of thing when I worked at NASA, but in those cases nearly all of the workers involved were contractors, and NASA is a very different animal from the IRS. You’d see a sea of Howard Dean stickers on the cars in the parking lot outside some agency buildings, you’d hear the occasional political diatribe against Republicans by high-ranking officials now and then, and James Hansen’s constant politicking from his agency perch speaks for itself. But within NASA you could at least debate things, and NASA cannot ruin people’s lives the way that the IRS can.
That the IRS has apparently morphed into another arm of the Democratic National Committee is dangerous and deeply depressing. It suggests that while Lois Lerner probably was working with Obama administration officials above her in the food chain, she and many many other agency officials may not have even needed specific orders to act upon. They knew what to do, and more importantly, they knew that the Obama administration was extremely unlikely to punish them.