Fire the crony IRS Taxpayer Advocate!


160524_IRSForfeit_Quinn-1250x650Mnuchin should replace IRS taxpayer advocate Nina Olsen for dereliction of duty

By Rick Manning

Did you know that the Internal Revenue Service has someone who is appointed by the Treasury Secretary to serve as the “Taxpayer Advocate?”

The position was designed by Congress to have a high level of independence from the IRS to, “assist taxpayers in resolving problems with the IRS”, “identify areas in which taxpayers have problems in dealings with the IRS”, “to the extent possible, propose changes in the administrative practices of the IRS to mitigate problems identified”, and “identify potential legislative changes which may be appropriate to mitigate such problems.”

Given the list of responsibilities, it would be reasonable to assume that this little-known position was created in the wake of the Obama Administration’s abuse of power in singling out conservative groups and contributors to be wrung through the bureaucratic wringer.  But no, the Taxpayer Advocate position was first created by Congress in 1996, and the current inhabitant, Nina Olsen, was appointed in January, 2001.

So, where was the IRS Taxpayer Advocate when Lois Lerner and her cronies were busily abusing and harassing conservative groups?

Great question, and it is one that former Senator Bob Kerrey (D-Neb.) asked in a 2013 interview with Politico saying, “That was the whole idea of the creation of the taxpayer advocate — that somebody could intervene on behalf of the taxpayer, and it looks like the intervention didn’t happen.”

Kerrey continued by speaking directly to tea party complaints about abuse being ignored saying, “These entities were reporting they were being singled out, and [the response] was sort of, ‘Don’t worry about it; it’s just a bunch of right-wing organizations that don’t like the president,” he said. “As it turns out, they were right.  The government was abusing its power.”

Is it possible that the Taxpayer Advocate, after about a decade in office, became so cozy with those she was assigned to stand up to, that she became a Stockholm Syndrome-like collaborator with the IRS?

The evidence seems compelling that Ms. Olsen has gone beyond collaborator to full-blown prison guard as in her 2013 report discussing the IRS targeting of conservative political groups, she argued for more regulation by the IRS of political activity stating the following: “The IRS and Treasury should develop a proposed regulation or revenue procedure that lists the factors IRS will apply and proposes a specific and detailed method for applying them. The guidance should explain how to apply the test to organizations before they have commenced operations. The IRS and Treasury should request public comment on this proposal to improve the guidance and to ensure that its process is transparent.”

In her June 2013 Special Report to Congress on Political Activity and the rights of Applicants for Tax-Exempt Status, she suggested that, “the IRS should undertake a random audit of existing IRC 501(c)(4) organizations to identify compliance risks.

Shortly after Olsen’s recommendation appeared, the IRS did propose a regulation dealing with speech by 501(c)(4) organizations that would have stifled political speech. The IRS regulations were so egregious that they had to be pulled due to the inability of the agency to handle the more than 150,000 comments generated against them. Congress later defunded any such rule from being issued.

House Ways and Means Committee Member George Holding (R-N.C.) wrote in about another abusive IRS practice called the National Research Program (NRP) which subjects individuals to in-depth random audits for statistical purposes. The NRP is the equivalent of a full taxpayer proctology exam and is significantly more stressful than a standard audit which might focus on a few items on a return. Instead the NRP forces the taxpayer to justify everything on the entire return so the IRS can get better statistical data.

What is the Taxpayer Advocates’ response to the NRP? Holding writes, “More alarming (than even the random audit itself), however, is that Nina Olson, head of the Office of the Taxpayer Advocate, charged with keeping an eye on things inside the IRS for taxpayers defended the program, even as she called the NRP ‘tormenting’ and referred to those who get pulled into this program as ‘guinea pigs’.”

There may be a perfectly rational reason why Ms. Olson always seemed to side with what was a rogue IRS during the Obama Administration, but after sixteen years in office, new Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin should take a fresh look at her tenure to determine if the American taxpayer needs a new watchdog and advocate in the belly of the beast.

Rick Manning is the President of Americans for Limited Government.

  • Ima Barber

    They should do away with the IRS. If everybody paid the same % on their income it would be a whole lot more fair.

  • Swed.

    The IRS is a corrupt and immoral private company, check the federal record.

    The Federal Reserve is neither.
    The IMF is anti-American.
    All need to go and the precipitants need to be prosecuted.

  • BarrrySoetorhole

    We must Repeal the 16th Amendment. This one law (in 1913) destroyed our protections of the Constitution’s Article 1, AND gave the Federal Govt (the IRS) the power to directly tax each and every citizen.

  • BarrrySoetorhole

    The “TAX ADVOCATE” works for the IRS….so in reality they are the “TAX ADVERSARY” just like the entire IRS is. Get rid of this office entirely or place it directly under a House Oversight Committee. MOST IMPORTANTLY, WE MUST REPEAL THE 16TH AMENDMENT.

  • BarrrySoetorhole

    Spot on. The IRS and the FED were spawned into life in 1913 by the destruction of the Constitution’s very first Article….by the hideous 16th Amendment. J.P. Morgan, the Rothschilds, Bilderbergs and other large bankers loathed Article 1 and they had to destroy it. They spent millions in bribes to nearly every member of Congress and their scheme finally came true in 1913.

  • Swed.

    True but the tax is only on Federal Employees, foreign agents, not Citizens in the 50 states. That is the fraud, the thugs at the federal government have been extorting and threatening citizens for 70 years to steal money from them.

    The judges are paid by the feds so rule for the fed/MOB every time, go figure.

  • Swed.

    It changed nothing in the 50 States, just DC and the protectorates, that is the fraud perpetrated on the American Nationals (citizens).

  • Fred Doe

    I see a battle coming. A battle between good and evil, between right and wrong. A battle between the enforcement of Constitutional law and the forces of complete corruption and decadence. And the left is on the wrong side of every issue..

  • chief1937

    It is obvious this position is not needed as no action in the way of tax payer defence has been accomplished. Save money do away with the position.