IRS employees used government credit cards to shop for porn

Friday, July 19, 2013 by: J. D. Heyes
Tags: IRS, credit cards, government waste

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(NaturalNews) Americans are abused regularly by what talk radio host Mark Levin calls "the fourth branch of government - the Administrative Branch" - which is that vast, all-consuming and ever-expanding behemoth known as the federal bureaucracy.

While it is difficult to pick which bureaucracy is the most abusive, certainly the Internal Revenue Service ranks right up there near the top. What's more, the agency itself appears to be out of control and leaderless, free to spend your money as it sees fit. Per The Associated Press:

Poor oversight by the Internal Revenue Service allowed workers to use agency credit cards to buy wine for an expensive luncheon, dorky swag for managers' meetings and, for one employee, romance novels and diet pills, an agency watchdog said...

Online pornography was among those inappropriate purchases, according to the records of two IRS credit cards, though the employees who had those cards said they had been stolen. "One of the workers reported five agency credit cards lost or stolen," AP noted. Five.

Indeed, a recent audit by the IRS inspector general found that agency employees used credit cards to make in excess of 273,000 purchases totaling almost $108 million in 2010 and 2011.

Litany of abuses

While the majority of purchases made on the government cards were legitimate, the IG report noted that the agency's internal controls for preventing such inappropriate purchases was less than adequate.

AP provides some details:

For example, investigators found that one IRS employee spent $2,655 on diet pills, romance novels, steaks, a smartphone and baby-related items, including bottles, games and clothes. The case was referred to the IG's office that investigates employee misconduct, the report said.

Other "improper" purchases that were identified by the IG include:

-- $119 for Nerf footballs that weren't even used; they were found gathering dust in a filing cabinet;

-- $3,152 for a popcorn machine rental and to purchase items for an employee event - bandanas, stovepipe hats, sunglasses, stuffed animals, etc.;

-- $418 for novelty decorations and other items at managers meetings - bathtub toys, kazoos, "Thomas the Tank Engine" wristbands, and more.

"Inadequate procedures to identify, report and address inappropriate use leaves the IRS purchase card program vulnerable to repeated violations of applicable laws and regulations," J. Russell George, the Treasury inspector general for tax administration, said in his report.

George has been busy lately. This latest report follows earlier ones which also detailed millions in waste, fraud and abuse - and these revelations come on top of earlier disclosures that the IRS was used as a political weapon against conservative and Tea Party activist groups that applied for tax-exempt status in the years and months leading up to the 2012 elections.

Lack of oversight in DC responsible for IRS abuses

The AP reported that "[d]ocuments released Monday show that liberal and progressive groups were singled out, too," but the news agency did not say where those documents came from or who released them. And they have been released after the fact, so a wise soul should question their veracity, especially considering the manner in which IRS officials questioned recently by Congress have either balked on providing details into the targeting of conservative groups, or have simply misled the people's representatives.

Either way, what is clear is that the IRS is completely out of control and in bad need of an overhaul.

The fix is easy: Congress can pass, and Obama can sign, legislation dismantling the overstuffed, overly powerful IRS and replace the enormous U.S. tax code with a simpler, fairer tax.

But they won't because the bottom line is, they - "they" being Democrats and Republicans - love the power they can wield by keeping the IRS just the way it is (or growing it).

So, barring a major voter rebellion, in which massive numbers of incumbent lawmakers are replaced with principled men and women who are serious about restoring constitutional balance in Washington, don't expect much to change.

In the meantime, however, we'll keep reporting the waste, fraud and abuse, hoping that by doing so we are in some way contributing to that future voter rebellion.

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