At a protest in downtown Manhattan last week, a group of federal workers chanted: "Hey, hey, ho, ho, sequestration has got to go!"
Where do the anti-sequester, federal government workers-turned-protestors work? They work at the Internal Revenue Service--and they are unionized.
As the scandal involving the IRS' targeting of Conservatives and Tea Party groups consumes the news cycle for the moment and Barack Obama (who, so far, has claimed ignorance of the targeting) has thrown a sacrificial lamb out to appease journalists, that IRS agents targeted certain small-government, anti-tax groups should really not come as a surprise.
Beginning in 2009, Democrats and unions, including government unions, have spent the last several years demonizing Tea Party groups as well as other small government groups.
On Thursday, despite the escalating scandal, Barack Obama told reporters that he did not see the need for a special prosecutor, saying "probes by Congress and the Justice Department should be able to figure out who was responsible for improperly targeting tea party groups when they applied for tax-exempt status."
While that may appease reporters from CNN and the mainstream media for the moment, one must wonder why there shouldn't be a special prosecutor to look into the wrongdoings of an agency with such vast powers over the American populace. Unless, of course, there is a smoking gun that people within the administration don't want discovered.
The IRS & Executive Order 13522
In December 2009, during the first term of his presidency, in an effort to make the federal government more "union friendly," President Obama issued Executive Order 13522.
In short, as noted in 2011, Executive Order 13522 establishes "labor-management forums" between union bosses (who may or may not be federal employees) and federal agency management.
As part of the directives under Executive Order 13522, agency heads are to engage union bosses in "pre-decisional discussions" before decisions are made--and those discussions are to be in secret and outside the purview of the Freedom of Information Act.
Pre-decisional discussions, by their nature, should be conducted confidentially among the parties to the discussions. This confidentiality is an essential ingredient in building the environment of mutual trust and respect necessary for the honest exchange of views and collaboration.
Coincidentally, among the agencies covered by Executive Order 13522 is the Internal Revenue Service, which is part of the Department of the Treasury, and whose agency employees are represented by the National Treasury Employees Union.
The fact that, under Executive Order 13522, federal agencies are being co-managed by union bosses and it appears that the perpetrators of the IRS scandal are likely to be members of the IRS union makes one wonder how coordinated the attacks were--especially as four of the alleged perpetrators are claiming their bosses made them do it.
More importantly, if their bosses made them engage in potentially illegal activities, why didn't they go to their union to file a grievance?
The IRS Agents' Union
The National Treasury Employees Union (or NTEU) is a government union that represents 150,000 employees in 31 agencies and departments, including those tax collectors at the Internal Revenue Service.
According to its most recent filings with the Department of Labor, NTEU has 82,500 dues-paying members--paying between $204 and $499 per year in union dues and is headed by former IRS employee, Colleen Kelley, who, as union boss, raked in $278,127 last year.
In 2012, NTEU took in $57.6 million in dues, fees, as well as investment income. However, it spent $61.6 million.
While it is an "independent" union--which means it is not affiliated with the AFL-CIO--NTEU is, nevertheless, a partisan union and, although it cannot use union dues for politics, NTEU does have an active Political Action Committee.
Most tellingly, upon Barack Obama's re-election, NTEU sent out the following press release:
NTEU Leader Applauds Obama Victory; Turns Immediate Focus to Upcoming Lame-Duck Session
Wednesday, November 7 2012
Washington, D.C.—The leader of the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) today applauded the re-election of President Barack Obama.
“NTEU supported the re-election of President Obama as being in the best interests of our country and of the dedicated men and women of the federal workforce,” said NTEU President Colleen M. Kelley. “NTEU is also pleased that so many of our candidates for Senate seats and our staunchest supporters in the House won their races.”
NTEU’s efforts on behalf of President Obama and key candidates spanned the country. “Our 2012 election plan has been in place since the beginning of the year,” said President Kelley. “Many chapters and members were actively involved educating and organizing various types of activities around the country including candidate nights and volunteering for campaigns.”
According to OpenSecrets.org, of the $571,812 given to House and Senate campaigns by NTEU's PAC, a mere $24,000 went to Republican candidates.
With regard to NTEU's total political expenditures for 2012, perhaps this graph helps explain NTEU's partisanship more clearly:
No Need For Special Prosecutor?
That Barack Obama, his fellow Democrats and their union boss allies have demonized Conservatives and the Tea Party (in general) is not new. It's been occurring since 2009 and has been especially vociferous since the 2010 mid-term elections.
However, given the quickness that Barack Obama stated there is no need for a special prosecutor in light of the IRS scandal--especially given the extent of known coordination that goes on between the White House and union bosses on messaging and election-year tactics--makes one wonder if there is more to the controversy than a few "rogue" IRS workers.
In fact, it seems that, given the power that an agency like the IRS has, as well as the extent of power union bosses have been given witinh federal agencies under Executive Order 13522, there is more need than ever to have a special prosecutor look for the root of the scandal.
Despite the fact that the President feels there is no need for a special prosecutor, as the IRS scandal continues to escalate, more questions will be raised than will be answered by Eric Holder's Justice Department or through a Congressional inquiry.
The questions that should be asked and answered do not stop with the convenient scapegoating of one already-leaving agency head, and a few "rogue" employees.
It will take a special prosecutor to get to the bottom of it.
- IRS faces class action lawsuit over theft of 60 million medical records
- IRS Official in Charge During Tea Party Targeting Now Runs Health Care Office
- IRS doles out $92 million in employee bonuses
"Truth isn't mean. It's truth."
Andrew Breitbart (1969-2012)