If the IRS couldn’t get itself into enough trouble on its own, one of its employees determined it would be a good idea to call shock jock Howard Stern from work and what happened is mind-boggling.

Here’s the story in a nutshell: an IRS employee calls The Howard Stern Show and is placed on hold. While waiting, the IRS employee takes a call on another line from a taxpayer but somehow, and seemingly inadvertently, patches both calls together. When Stern’s show goes back to the call they can hear it and for nearly an hour, aired the private conversation.

Who does this? Oh, yeah, Howard Stern. (And, oh, yeah, the IRS.) As terrible as it was for Stern to air a conversation that includes personal details about a taxpayer, the IRS employee could’ve been much more careful — or how about this — not called The Howard Stern Show while on the clock.

Paul Caron at TaxProf Blog says this scenario is the perfect addition to any law school exam question:

The law school question is … in how many ways might the Howard Stern Show be civilly and criminally liable?

The question will likely be answered by the courts. The taxpayer has sued both the IRS for violations of the Federal Tort Claims Act and unlawful disclosure of tax returns and personal information, the Howard Stern Production Company, and Stern individually, for negligence, invasion of privacy, and the intentional infliction of emotional distress.

The punishments should be doled out across the board. The IRS is long overdue for some accountability. The agency needs to be at least one employee short, though I fear they might just be promoted, and IRS Commissioner John Koskinen should be groveling on the ground, begging for forgiveness from the unsuspecting victim. We are paying these people to do their jobs, not to multi-task for a spot on a radio show.

As for Stern, he needs to be raked over the coals for thinking this was remotely okay. Perhaps some of his tax-deferred savings could be used to pay the person’s tax bill since he ripped away their right to privacy. That’s a start.

From the very top the very bottom, the IRS is corrupt through and through. When you stoop to the Howard Stern level, you’re no longer a viable agency. Enough is enough is enough.

About The Author

Mark Meckler

Mark was a co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, and served as the national coordinator. He left the organization to work more broadly on expanding the self-governance movement beyond the partisan divide. Mark appears regularly on television in outlets as diverse as MSNBC, ABC, NBC, Fox News, CNN, Bloomberg, Fox Business and the BBC. He’s highly sought after for the tea party perspective from print and electronic media outlets, from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, L.A. Times, Washington Examiner, Politico and the The Hill. Mark blogs at MarkMeckler.com, and his opinion editorials regularly run in many of the leading political newspapers both on and offline. Mark has a BA in English from San Diego State University and graduated with honors from University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 1988. He practiced real estate and business law for almost a decade. For the last eleven years of his legal career he specialized in Internet advertising law. When not fighting for the future of our nation, Mark is an avid horseman, and lives in rural northern California with his wife Patty and two children.

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