Jeff Bergner: IRS, Justice Covering Up Tea Party Targeting

Wednesday, 30 Jul 2014 03:35 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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A former State Department worker tells Newsmax TV that the IRS and the Justice Department are engaged in a substantial cover-up surrounding the revenue agency's tea party-targeting scandal.

"We clearly have a political cover-up going on here, there's no doubt about that,'' Jeff Bergner, now a columnist for The Weekly Standard, said Wednesday on Newsmax TV's "The Steve Malzberg Show.''

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Bergner called it "beyond coincidence'' that key emails of former IRS official Lois Lerner and other IRS employees who are embroiled in the scandal have been lost in supposed computer crashes.

He added that the IRS has been forced to change its story "over and over and over again'' after it emerged that the emails possibly still exist.

Bergner says a special prosecutor should be assigned to tackle the agency's alleged singling out of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status, although he doubts it will happen.

"I don't. The Eric Holder Justice Department is unlikely to appoint a special prosecutor. You will recall their response to this whole scandal in the first place was to set up an internal investigation, which was to be run by an attorney named Barbara Bosserman, who conveniently turned out to be a Barack Obama donor,'' he said.

"This was in January of this year, and we are now close to August. We are eight months later, and needless to say we haven't heard one word of what this internal investigation . . . might have turned up, because the fact is that it's not going to turn up anything.''

Bergner says one of the most troubling aspects of the scandal is the fact that it involves an agency that has the most direct power over individual U.S. citizens.

"What we have here is the one thing that the framers [of the Constitution] had hoped would never occur,'' he said.

"Namely that the government has set up one set of rules for itself, which is more lax and self-dealing, and one set of rules for you and me, the taxpayer. This is clearly and completely wrong.''

In a recent syndicated column, Bergner, who also once worked in the Senate, reported that the PAC that is an extension of the union representing IRS employees donated 94 percent of its total political contributions to Democrats during the 2012 election cycle.

TEPAC, which receives voluntary contributions from IRS employees who are represented by the National Treasury Employees Union, gave a total of $583,912 to federal candidates, only 4 percent of which went to Republicans, Bergner said.

In the two days after that meeting, the IRS developed its guidance for handling applications from organizations for tax-exempt status, Bergner said. Meanwhile, there are 200 union representatives employed by the IRS who are paid salaries by the taxpayer, not through union dues. Some earn in excess of $100,000 per year to exclusively focus on union work.

In total, the cost to taxpayers for IRS union work in 2013 was $23.5 million, and added up to 573,319 man-hours. "In a perfect Orwellian formulation, this union work is called 'official time,'" wrote Bergner.

Bergner on Wednesday told host Steve Malzberg:

"This is an interesting thing, and it's one of those facts that goes below the radar a lot. Not only in the IRS . . . If you looked across the whole spectrum of the federal government, it would not be hundreds, but it would be thousands of people who are paid by taxpayers to do union work,'' he said.

"And that union work consists of lobbying the very government they work for in the Congress for more money, better benefits, better retirement, different working conditions and more job security.

"So, the taxpayer is paying people to work full to lobby the government to pay them more. What could be wrong with that picture?''

Bergner said the notion of bonuses for federal employees was created as a way of rewarding very highly competent employees or employees who had done something particularly meritorious in terms of saving money or accomplishing some end.

"It has gotten to be more and more widely institutionalized, and the process by which the evaluations are done are absolutely ridiculous,'' he said.

"People are put in for bonuses almost across the board in some departments for things that no one in its right mind would give someone a bonus for.''

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