Yet More Mismanagement at the IRS

Carol Platt Liebau
Posted: Jun 13, 2013 7:16 PM

As more attention focuses on the IRS, there is ever more evidence that it is an agency with serious and ongoing problems that mere "reforms" may not be able sufficiently to address.

Another recent audit of the IRS -- finished shortly before the targeting scandal came to public attention and released about two weeks ago -- reports on (1) agency abuse of official travel charge cards for personal expenses; (2) failure appropriately to penalize those who misused their government charge cards, even on a repeated basis; and (3) evidence that even some officials with to-secret security clearances had had their charge accounts suspended for failing to pay outstanding balances (which suggests they are, in themselves, a risk in an agency privy to so much confidential financial information.  

The inspector general report even seemed to call the IRS out on the hypocrisy of its handling of "irregularities":

[The] IRS ask[s] taxpayers to voluntarily pay taxes owed in a timely manner and yet was more tolerant when its employees became delinquent and defaulted on outstanding payments, violated the terms of the Citibank contract, abused a Government-provided resource (travel funding), and compromised the integrity of the IRS.

Notwithstanding all that, though, the Inspector General concluded that overall, the IRS was "effective" in controlling the use of the credit cards!  Perhaps that's because there were "only" 1,000 employees misusing the cards over a two-year period, with "only" 325 bad checks written -- despite more than 51,000 IRS employees carrying IRS travel credit cards.  Good enough for government work, one supposes . . .    

Of course, from the recent targeting revelations, we have seen how deeply corrupt certain segments of the agency are -- and now, in the wake of that scandal, there is a startling lack of transparency.  Exhibit A: We all know that Holly Pazhad been replaced, but just about an hour ago, Eliana Johnson offered some convcing proofs that Paz may have been fired . . . but we just don't know.  For a bunch of folks who are so eager to stick their noses in Americans' businesses, the taxpayers who pay their salaries sure don't know much about what's going on there.