John Dickerson doesn’t go in for the ‘IRS is targeting conservatives!!1’ theories here, and this isn’t some wingnut piece. What this article does do is make clear the IRS has richly earned being raked across the coals due to its overbearing treatment of taxpayers and its seeming “Do as I say not as I do!” behavior regarding record-keeping:
Anyone who has ever kicked a trash can across a room after trying to get the Internal Revenue Service to explain a tax rule, or been through one of its exfoliating audits, gained a champion in Rep. Paul Ryan on Friday. At a Ways and Means Committee hearing investigating how the IRS lost thousands of emails sought by congressional investigators, the Wisconsin congressman lost it. He emptied his frustration and anger over IRS Commissioner John Koskinen like he was flushing a radiator.
“You are the Internal Revenue Service. You can reach into the lives of hard-working taxpayers and with a phone call, an email, or a letter you can turn their lives upside-down. You ask taxpayers to hang on to seven years of their personal tax information in case they are ever audited, and you can’t keep six months’ worth of employee emails?”
It’s the IRS’ business to be in our business—so Ryan is giving them the business. It’s hard to think of a federal agency that is less forgiving about record keeping. If you are audited, the IRS wants you to move fast. Not only do you have to keep your records for years, as Ryan says, but the IRS wants you to move quick like a bunny. And the entire process has one subliminal message to it: “I don’t believe you.”
That is exactly what Ryan said to the IRS commissioner, who took umbrage. Now he knows how it feels. It’s not Commissioner Koskinen who lost the emails, he’s just on the wrong side of a bad policy that doesn’t require the IRS to be as records-conscious as the citizens it polices. But in the traditional IRS power relationship, it’s usually the subjects of its audits who feel the unfocused and overly harsh attention of a system that assumes they are guilty.
Read the whole thing. Constructive comments welcome, but please don’t comment just to flame Paul Ryan.