Suspicions have already been raised about the impact IRS targeting of conservative groups had on the last Presidential election.  Now evidence has been uncovered of IRS workers actively campaigning for President Obama while on the job.

The federal Office of Special Counsel revealed 3 separate cases of IRS employees using their influence as federal workers for political purposes.  All 3 examples are serious violations of the Hatch Act that occurred during the 2012 election cycle within IRS offices.

In the first, a customer service representative encouraged multiple callers to reelect President Obama with a chant based on his last name.  “Significant disciplinary action” will be sought for this employee, but the final decision is up to the Merit Systems Protection Board.

Another employee was recorded praising Democrats to a customer and criticizing Republicans for “trying to cap my pension.”  Her supervisor had explained Hatch Act restrictions weeks earlier.  She told the caller, “I’m not supposed to voice my opinion, so you didn’t hear me saying that.”

When investigated, she admitted “violating the Hatch Act’s restrictions against engaging in political activity while on duty and in the workplace and using her official authority or influence to affect the result of an election” and settled for a 14-day suspension.

The final case highlighted in this report involved an entire office.  The IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center in Dallas, Texas, was reported to the OSC because employees were wearing pro-Obama clothing, stickers and buttons.  Even pro-Obama screensavers on government computers were “commonplace” around the office.

The Hatch Act specifically prohibits these activities “while the employee is on duty, in any federal room or building, while wearing a uniform or official insignia, or using any federally owned or leased vehicle.”  But because the OSC couldn’t concretely determine that these items were present during the election cycle, the Dallas office only received a warning that such activities were not allowed.

At the state and local levels, violators of the Hatch Act are usually fired and prohibited from government employment for 18 months, or else employers will pay heavy fines.  But at the end of 2012, Congress passed a “modified penalty structure” for federal employees who violate the Hatch Act.  “Before enactment of these amendments, an employee was subject to removal” or a minimum 30-day suspension for violations.  Now, just a reprimand will do the trick in certain cases.

Apparently using one’s government position to affect election outcomes – and on taxpayer-paid time, no less – is not that big of a deal.  But I think we already knew that, when the Obama Administration repeatedly rewarded a top IRS official for blatantly partisan activity.

As a federal agency, the IRS is to be strictly non-partisan.  But all we see lately is the IRS giving favor to one political ideology and attempting to stifle anyone who disagrees through paperwork, regulations, and investigations.

It’s time for the citizens to hold the IRS accountable.  Both the U.S. Congress and the Department of Justice have been implicated by recent evidence.  Do we really trust them to get to the bottom of this?  I don’t think so.

This country was meant to be run by and for the citizens.  That’s why Citizens for Self-Governance took a stand of our own and opened a class-action lawsuit against the IRS on behalf of organizations targeted by the agency.

Are we going to stand for this?

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