Friday, November 26, 2010

The IRS As A Political Weapon

Some folks don't realize that the Internal Revenue Service is one of the biggest political tools.

It is a political tool which can be, and often has been, indiscriminately used against opponents of the doctrines of the establishment elite 2%.

It doesn't take conspiracy theory rhetoric to come to that conclusion, it has been out in the open in the political literature, legal opinions, and even in the media for ages.

In fact, the misuse of a taxing authority was one of the King of England's favorite tools, leading those who established the U.S. Constitution to not attempt to carry those practices over into the new country, the new nation.

Author John Sbardellati pointed out what Supreme Court Justice John Marshall once famously stated:
Titled after Chief Justice John Marshall's all-too prescient dictum that "the power to tax involves the power to destroy," John A. Andrew's final book uncovers the myriad ways the Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon administrations politicized the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), misusing its immense powers in order to exert heavy pressure on political and ideological foes. Published posthumously, the finished product benefits from the labors of friends and family, colleagues and publisher. The result is invaluable portrait of a renegade government agency seldom studied by researchers. According to Andrew, there is a good reason for the dearth of studies on the IRS. Researchers are hindered by what Athan ...
(Journal of Cold War Studies, Vol. 7, Issue 3: Sbardellati, John. “Power to Destroy: The Political Uses of the IRS from Kennedy to Nixon”, emphasis added). Those who inhabited the White House long ago noted that power to destroy increases exponentially during times of war:
War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few.
(Greatest Source of Power Toxins, quoting James Madison, 4th U.S. President, emphasis added). These illicit techniques were habitually practised by the King of England, which led to these statements in The Declaration of Independence:
He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to civil power ... imposing taxes on us without our consent
(The Unanimous Declaration). These practices seem to be insidious, engrained in the lizard brain, and constantly re-emerging through the toxins of power:
When it comes to secrecy, however, the CIA may not be the worst offender. Another federal agency shares a passion for the shadows. Ducking disclosure and hiding from its past, this agency is far larger and more intrusive than the CIA. It touches the lives of millions of Americans, yet it reveals surprisingly little about itself. Another spy agency, perhaps, sporting a "black budget" and official "nonexistence"? Far from it. It's the Internal Revenue Service ... In a series of well-publicized disclosures last April, word surfaced that IRS employees were snooping through Americans' personal tax returns. Outraged members of Congress crafted a quickie legislative fix, outlawing illicit browsing and promising criminal penalties for the inveterately curious. The bill was symbolically rushed through just in time for tax day. Americans, presumably, were supposed to feel relieved ... What we should feel is frightened. The uproar of browsing obscured a far more serious problem plaguing the IRS: its deep-seated culture of secrecy. Hiding behind a well-intentioned law gone horribly wrong, the agency shields itself from effective public scrutiny. Ironically, this passion for secrecy helps make the IRS politically vulnerable, contributing to its popular image as an overpowerful, unaccountable federal agency.
(Tax History Project). The despotic practice of using IRS as a secret weapon against any dissent continues:
Richard Nixon was known for his infamous “enemies list” that started as a list of 20 political opponents and then grew to include hundreds. The purpose of the list was revealed in a 1971 memorandum from White House Counsel John Dean to Lawrence Higby titled “Dealing With Our Enemies.”

In the memo, Dean explained that, “This memorandum addresses the matter of how we can maximize the fact of our incumbency in dealing with persons known to be active in their opposition to our Administration. Stated a bit more bluntly - how we can use the available federal machinery to screw our political enemies.” ... Nixon’s use of the IRS as a political tool was an abuse but hardly anything new. One of the most egregious offenders of this type of abuse was Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

In Roosevelt’s first term as President, Andrew Mellon became a primary target for investigation. Mellon was Roosevelt’s polar opposite in economic philosophy. Mellon, a former Secretary of the Treasury under Presidents Coolidge, Harding, and Hoover, was widely popular and he was critical of Roosevelt’s use of expansive government spending programs as a solution to the depression. Through his longtime friend and Secretary of the Treasury, Henry Morgenthau and his Attorney General Homer Cummings, Roosevelt went after Mellon with a vengeance. According to author John Morton Blum (From the Morgenthau Diaries: Years of Crisis,1928-1938, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1959, I p324-5), when Elmer Irey, the head of Morgenthau’s intelligence unit at the Bureau of Internal Revenue (later renamed the Internal Revenue Service) hesitated to go after Mellon, Morgenthau called him personally and demanded Irey conduct the audit. Morgenthau told the prosecutor in the case that “You can’t be too tough in this trial to suit me.”
(IRS As A Political Weapon). It hardly takes genius to realize that Bush II and Cheney I would consider using the IRS as a political weapon to be a fundamental right, seeing as how they still openly declare torture to be fine with them.

The lizard brain of the IRS knows no bounds once it is unleashed upon the citizenry.

This search using IRS as the keyword will bring up Dredd Blog posts on the subject "IRS". By popular demand, there will be more.


  1. They got Capone when no one else seemed to be able to.

    That says something.

  2. Dredd,

    Great post today, as usual. I particularly liked the lead art/photo, as it clearly speaks to the fact that the IRS has the power to rule and enforce all legal issues that fall within its purview - without appeal outside of that same system - under the branch/body of law called administrative law. I remember being struck by this concept during my obligatory MBA Business Law course a few years back (one of the very few concepts I was "struck by" during my whole MBA experience, regardless of subject), as I really had no idea that such courts existed almost totally outside the realm of the "normal" court system here in the US.

    You might want to consider expanding on this subject for another post or two, as you are no doubt quite a bit more well versed in legal matters than I, and many of your readers are likely no more well versed on the subject than I am either (and I'd certainly appreciate a good brushing up as well). Neverthless, good stuff. Keep up the good work!

  3. Randy,

    I was going to say the same thing.

  4. Dredd needs to spend less time typing and more time brushing up on his/her tax law and learning a little about IRS. Congress had no need for any "quicklie" law to outlaw browsing by IRS employees as it was already illegal and has been for a long time. Many IRS employees have legitimate business reasons for seeing tax return information on a limited number of citizens (they cannot process your tax return without seeing it. DUH), and IRS has extensive IT controls to prevent them from seeing others as well as sophisticated tracking and detection tools to identify employees who managed to do so anyway (this is how these cases are identified --IRS itself or the IG finds them and publicizes them, an odd thing for such a "secret" organization to do). However, IRS's automated systems are incredibly complex, the task is exceptionally difficult (like enforcing any law) and every year several hundred IRS employees (out of about 100,000) are identified doing this, summarily fired, and criminally prosecuted. But I guess this type of persepctive doesn't make for a good headline.

  5. Anonymous (a.k.a. GAO),

    Anonymous from the GAO in Arlington (we track all log ons, comments, etc.) says I type too much.

    Like a typical bureaucrat that can't see the forest for the trees, he came over to Jabber The Whut?

    For Anonymous GAO's information, I did a cut and paste of way more than half of the text on this post, typing less than half of it.

    I got the information from expert historians who were researching this material way before you were a twinkie in MOMCOM's eye, and I linked to the sites where the quote / material came from.

    I bet you keep just as close an eye on the Pentagon that admits to losing 25% of its annual budget don't you Anonymous GAO?

    "it was already illegal and has been for a long time"

    So is bank robbery, insider trading, and bank fraud.

    So how are those laws working out ... stopping all that bank robbery, insider trading, and bank fraud are they?

    Your ongoing oversight there at GAO knows that once a law is passed you can stop monitoring that activity?

    Oh Boy! Doin' a heckuva job there in Arlington are ya?

    The point of the post would advise anyone who had already had their morning coffee that political wrongs of the sort indicated in this post begin from the top then proceed down to employees at the very last, if ever.

    Did you catch the word "president" ordering the IRS to do certain things as reported by the historians cited in the article?

    Or are you a propaganda troll who has a mission to bullshit the world?

    WikiLeaks gonna get IRS next if IRS don't watch out (since it is unlikely that GAO will).

    Maybe someone will email them to suggest just that.

  6. I notice that Dredd was complimented by a tax lawyer named Grayson in the comments to the post Why Is It The Busiest Tax Court?

    Another good post that reveals the legal difference between avoiding and evading taxes is It Is Not Wrong To Avoid Taxes.

    You should read more and comment less Anonymous.