Taxpayer Bill of Rights  

Press Release #105-304

Day One of Hearings Shows Breakdown in
IRS Disciplinary Process

Outline of Four Cases

WASHINGTON -- During the first day of IRS oversight hearings Tuesday, Senate Finance Committee Chairman William V. Roth, Jr. (R-DE) questioned representatives of the Treasury Inspector General's office about several cases in which the IRS was ineffective in disciplining serious misconduct.

The following is an outline of the four cases that came up in the questioning of the panel:

1. Case of 20 missing government automobiles:

In 1994, IRS officials learned that a former CID undercover program manager kept custody of at least one government owned vehicle when he retired in 1992. This led to the discovery that more cars for which he had been accountable were missing. When the problem was discovered, the former employee admitted that he abandoned 16-18 other IRS owned vehicles.

The former employee used his position to claim that these cars were going to be used for under cover operations, and therefore was allowed to transfer titles.

The cars included Lincolns, Mercedes-Benz and BMW's.

The report of investigation substantiated that the former employee allowed family members and friends to use and drive several these vehicles.

There were such poor internal controls that no one knew that he had been responsible for these cars.

In the course of the investigation, the IRS also learned that this employee had misused his government credit cards after he retired. These cards should have been taken from him when he retired. IRS officials did not report this information to the Chief Inspector's Office as is required.

In a "deferred prosecution," this former employee had to pay $20,000 in restitution and was put on probation for two years.

2. EEO officer accused of sexual harassment; gets promoted to national EEO head of IRS and investigation finds that he sexually harasses again.

In December of 1996, allegations of sexual harassment were made against the IRS's National Director of EEO and Diversity.

An IRS Inspections investigation substantiated the allegations based on interviews with several employee-victims.

A number of these employees worked in the EEO office, some as EEO investigators.

During the course of the investigation, it was also determined that sexual harassment allegations against this individual had been made when he worked in the Oklahoma City district, prior to being promoted to National Director of EEO and Diversity. There was never a formal investigation of these charges. No disciplinary action was taken against this individual regarding the complaints in Oklahoma City.

Based on the substantiated allegations made against him as the National Director of the IRS EEO, this individual was given a written reprimand, and was reassigned to a different part of the country. He is still employed by the IRS.

3. Threatening letter sent to tax practitioner.

In October of 1996, a California tax practitioner received threatening correspondence in an IRS envelope, postmarked from an IRS office in Long Beach, California.

The tax practitioner was representing a taxpayer and dealing with a particular revenue officer in the Long Beach IRS office.

The envelope contained a threatening statement typed on a copy of a news article about a local tax mediator who had been arrested in an IRS raid. The threatening statement said, "you and your clients are next".

Forensic evidence from a subsequent investigation showed that the typeface on the threatening note matched that of the ribbon of the typewriter located within the office of the employee with which the tax practitioner was dealing. In fact, the imprint of the typed note was found on the typewriter ribbon.

The IRS report of investigation said that the IRS could not substantiate the allegation that this particular IRS employee had typed the threatening letter.

4. IRS employee threatens to audit state trooper who has pulled him over for drunk driving

A revenue officer was arrested by a state trooper for DWI. The revenue officer threatened to audit the arresting state trooper if he didn't let him go. During the process of the arrest the revenue officer was not only combative, but made the threat of audit several times.

When the matter was investigated by IRS inspection agents, the state trooper stated that he was extremely concerned about the revenue officers threats and that he was afraid that it could cause him a great deal of economic hardship.

The revenue officer was not disciplined. An agreement was entered into with IRS officials that should this revenue officer be involved in any further misconduct, he would be subjected to harsh discipline.

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