Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Fox News Selectively Reports on IRS...Again

Fox News reports, "Another government watchdog report has flagged inappropriate behavior at the IRS, this time claiming government credit cards were used to make questionable purchases on items ranging from wine to online pornography" --- but why does the accompanying photo on the Fox News article (shown below) feature a protest about "bloated government" and healthcare? I think most of us know why.

Fox News reports that a report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration found that between fiscal 2010 and 2011, the more than 5,000 IRS card accounts racked up $103 million in purchases. (But only 94 of those accounts were responsible for those in question.)

As a aside: The IRS now has 5,000 fewer employees than the previous year because of budget cuts --- because the GOP also wants less tax audits for wealthy tax dodgers with offshore bank accounts. At the end of 2012, the IRS had 97,717 employees --- a drop of 9 percent from 2010 levels, adding to the increased workload of current IRS employees.

The Huffington Post reports that the Inspector General's report on the questionable credit card purchases "comes as the IRS faces intense scrutiny over agents targeting conservative groups for additional scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status. Documents released Monday show that liberal and progressive groups were singled out too." 

This was why Republican congressman Darrell Issa didn't want to release the full IRS report on 501c audits to the general public. Mother Jones reports that the IRS had also used keywords such as "progressive", "occupy" and "healthcare legislation". But Fox News never mentions this, and only says, "The report was issued by the same watchdog that flagged the IRS's inappropriate screening of conservative groups that were seeking tax-exempt status."

J. Russell George, the inspector general, said in a statement, "While the majority of IRS cardholders appear to use their purchase cards properly, TIGTA's audit identified some troubling instances of inappropriate usage." But as usual, Fox News wants us all to believe that "big government" is running amuck and "out of control".

The big Fox News headline on their website (and what they also emphasized on their cable news show) was "IRS credit cards used for wine, pornography, IG report says"--- but the report said IRS credit cards paid for 28 bottles of wine at one 2010 luncheon for tax officials and that two IRS credit cards were also used to buy online pornography, though the employees had reported the cards stolen.

Although, according to the report by the Treasury inspector general for tax administration, it did say that IRS employees used agency credit cards to make more than 273,000 purchases totaling nearly $108 million in 2010 and 2011. This in itself is outrageous, but Fox News need not use yellow journalism, sensationalism or propaganda to further their agenda to make the IRS and "big government" look evil.

America needs an organization such as the IRS to legitimately collect tax revenues, and audit for fraud in 501c groups (whether they are liberal or conservative), and we need more employers at the IRS to better do their jobs (including better oversight) and to better police tax evaders.

The Huffington Post also reports --- but not Fox News --- that "94 employees were responsible for the purchases, including 22 workers who had done it more than once in a six-month period" --- out of  97,717 employees. (That is 0.096% of the IRS's workforce.)

As for the 2 IRS employees whose cards were used to buy pornography, the inspector general's report didn't determine who bought the material or whether their cards were actually stolen. One of the employees is no longer at the agency. The Inspector General is continuing to investigate the other employee, the report said.

Fox News (aka the multi-billionaire Rupert Murdoch) and the Tea Party (aka the multi-billionaire Koch brothers) are against the IRS; but most of us have nothing to fear from the IRS because we're honest and use legitimate tax deductions if we own homes; and we also have our taxes automatically deducted by employers from our paychecks. But the GOP wants to reduce tax audits on our employers (more specifically, the largest corporations and banks.)

Maybe we should hire MORE inspector generals to audit (on a regular basis) ALL our government agencies for ALL their waste, fraud and abuse. Besides just the IRS for their lavish conferences, we should better audit ALL other government organizations --- such as the Social Security Administration for their elaborate conventions in Las Vegas, and the Defense Department for their bogus parts that they received from contractors that offshored American jobs, and the White House, for their annual correspondents dinners.

But the GOP wants to cut MORE government workers, just to starve the beast, and to starve government revenues by attacking the IRS.

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