Indoctrinating People to Believe They Are above the Law: IRS Gives Bonuses to Employees Who Owe Back Taxes

How would you teach the members of an organization that they were special—really special? You would want to encourage these people to believe there was nothing wrong with bending the law in order to harass and intimidate your political opponents. So you would need them to not to lack any confidence about their standing to carry out their missions.

Is that what is going on in the IRS? I can’t say for sure. I don’t have recorded or documentary evidence of any kind of self-conscious strategy. But I bring up the hypothetical scenario because I think the facts that we have at the moment would easily fit into that storyline.

From Newser: “IRS Handed Out $1M in Bonuses— to Workers Who Owed Back Taxes.”

The Internal Revenue Service has paid more than $2.8 million in bonuses to employees with recent disciplinary problems, including $1 million to workers who owed back taxes, a government investigator said yesterday. More than 2,800 workers got bonuses despite facing a disciplinary action in the previous year, including 1,150 who owed back taxes, says a report by J. Russell George, the Treasury inspector general for tax administration. The bonuses were awarded from October 2010 through December 2012. George’s report said the bonus program doesn’t violate federal regulations, but it’s inconsistent with the IRS mission to enforce tax laws.

“These awards are designed to recognize and reward IRS employees for a job well done, and that is appropriate, because the IRS should encourage good performance,” George said. “However, while not prohibited, providing awards to employees who have been disciplined for failing to pay federal taxes appears to create a conflict with the IRS’ charge of ensuring the integrity of the system of tax administration.” Other examples of misconduct by workers getting bonuses included misusing government credit cards for travel, drug use, violent threats, and fraudulently claiming unemployment benefits. 

The statement about the federal regulations is ludicrous. Who would think you need a regulation to forbid bonuses to employees who break the law of their own employer, steal from the employee credit card, commit fraud, use drugs or threaten harm? We can’t possibly expect regulations to cover every contingency. Regulations are to stop people from doing something that otherwise tempts them.

So now that we have this news: Why would anyone find it desirable to award money to people who do wrong? The only answer I can think of is to gain the loyalty and gratitude of lawbreakers and wrongdoers. The IRS must need such people and want to keep such people. Given the IRS record of activity, this isn’t so hard to understand.

Naturally, such people are the ones you can trust with your personal information… NOT!