The Internal Revenue Service continues to keep Congress, or least the House half of it, busy with investigations into the harassment of the Tea Party and how email evidence of IRS abuse mysteriously disappears. The dogs are eating a lot of the homework at the IRS. The emails that can be found reveal the partisanship of IRS officials who refer to Republicans as “crazies.”
It’s the stuff of a low-budget spy thriller, but the agency’s biggest game is being played right out in the open. Taxpayers are paying an army of IRS agents to work full time to elect more Democrats.
It’s all disguised, of course. The IRS offers government salaries, office space and equipment to representatives of the National Treasury Employees Union, and last week the deputy commissioner of the IRS reported to the House Ways and Means Committee that these IRS employees spent 573,319 hours in 2012 working on union business. That’s the equivalent of 286 full-time employees doing nothing but union work.
These employees charged $687,400 in travel to the taxpayers. In May 2012, for one example, union stewards flew at taxpayer expense to Las Vegas for union “training.” These “training” events, put on by the union, are expensive. In 2010 an IRS “training” convention cost $4.1 million. “Instructional” videos, parodies of “Star Trek” episodes, were created to “instruct” agency employees. The union naturally wants greater benefits, bigger salaries and more handsome bonuses, and somebody has to lobby Congress to get them. So Congress pays the union to do it.
This year, 94 percent of campaign contributions from the National Treasury Employees Union’s political action committee have gone to Democrats, including 13 candidates for U.S. Senate. All of them are Democrats, including Michelle Nunn in Georgia and Alison Lundergan Grimes in Kentucky.
With hundreds of thousands of dollars left in the bank, union money will flow to candidates as needed to keep the Senate under Democratic control. The director of all this is Colleen M. Kelley, the president of the union and a big fan of President Obama. Ms. Kelley is a member of the Federal Salary Council, which advises the government about how much to pay federal employees, appointed by Mr. Obama.
The IRS employs 92,000 men and women, and most of them work hard to collect the taxes necessary to pay for the necessary government. Many are no doubt Republicans and other conservatives. They’re victims, too, of the union’s campaign to make the government bigger, the better to harass and threaten taxpayers. Taxpayers rightly expect to pay employees who do only the public’s business. Congress should pull the plug on “union time” business throughout the bureaucracy, and the IRS is a good place to start.