swagandpassion says: Hello SFB. Given the rough last weeks Obama has endured, the steadfast obstruction policy of the GOP, and especially the NSA leak, do you feel any sense 3rd party/Libertarian agendas moving to forefront as privacy grows a bigger concern?
» SFB says: I think libertarianism has long been on an upswing—at least since the rise of the Tea Party, and arguably during the 2008 Ron Paul campaign. The current issues with the NSA leak and the Obama administration don’t change that and may in fact energize it. That’s why Rand Paul is feeling an upswing. Stuff like his filibuster earlier this year resonates with a certain audience. It’s not clear whether third parties can totally break through, but a lot of the question is whether the negative momentum against the NSA stuff and the IRS thing, issues which riled up both sides of the aisle, can stick around for a while. We have a way of forgetting about this kind of thing these days, frustratingly, and that could prove the biggest hurdle for this having a lasting effect—an effect which could help raise nontraditional voices like Paul’s. — Ernie @ SFB
14:28 // 10 months ago
A pair of IRS officials – including a senior staffer implementing the Democratic healthcare law – has been placed on administrative leave for accepting hundreds of dollars in free food and gifts at an agency conference, according to congressional sources.
In all, the staffers – named by one source as Fred Schindler and Donald Koda, who both work on implementation of the Affordable Care Act – received over $1,100 in free food and other gifts at a 2010 California conference that was the centerpiece of a recent Treasury audit, according to information given to congressional investigators.
Both officials are accused of accepting gifts during the same IRS conference which became the go-to example of government excess for several months back in 2010. The Treasury Department’s recently released audit of said conference revealed that it cost the Internal Revenue Service more than $4 million in total.
17:08 // 10 months ago
The Internal Revenue Service official at the center of the Tea Party targeting controversy will refuse to answer questions from lawmakers Wednesday.
Lois Lerner, the head of the exempt organizations division of the IRS, will exercise her rights under the Fifth Amendment when she appears before the House Oversight Committee as scheduled Wednesday.
Can’t say we’re shocked by this news, considering all those involved are likely to end up in court at some point in the future.
17:58 // 11 months ago
It is with regret that I will be departing from the IRS as my acting assignment ends in early June. This has been an incredibly difficult time for the IRS given the events of the past few days, and there is a strong and immediate need to restore public trust in the nation’s tax agency. I believe the Service will benefit from having a new Acting Commissioner in place during this challenging period. As I wrap up my time at the IRS, I will be focused on an orderly transition.
While I recognize that much work needs to be done to restore faith in the IRS, I don’t want anyone to lose sight of the fact that the IRS is comprised of incredibly dedicated and hard-working public servants.
During my 25-year IRS career, I am profoundly proud to have worked alongside you and to be part of an institution that has worked hard to support the nation. I have strong confidence in the IRS leadership team to continue the important work of our agency.
I want to thank everyone for all of their support and friendship during my career in government service. And I especially want to thank each and every one of you for your continued commitment to the nation’s taxpayers.
Miller was forced to resign as a result of the past week’s IRS scandal.
10:37 // 11 months ago
President Obama announced minutes ago that, in response to the revelation that the IRS discriminately targeted conservative-leaning groups for scrutiny, he’s asked for and accepted the resignation of Miller, the acting IRS Commissioner. The commissioner at the time of the targeting was Donald Shulman; Miller didn’t assume the post of acting commissioner until November of last year, after the probe ended. However, he did have knowledge in May that the probe had taken place.
18:42 // 11 months ago