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Kyle Wingfield

Posted: 10:20 a.m. Friday, May 31, 2013

Gingrey to IRS: Has anyone actually been fired yet? 

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By Kyle Wingfield

Sine the IRS scandal broke, many conservatives have been frustrated at the lack of publicly known consequences for the agency's targeting of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status. So far, the only known responses are: a) the departure of the agency's current acting commissioner just weeks earlier than previously scheduled, and b) paid administrative leave for the person in charge of the office that carried out the targeting.

With that in mind, Phil Gingrey -- a GOP congressman from Marietta and candidate for U.S. Senate -- yesterday sent a letter to the new acting commissioner of the IRS asking why more heads haven't rolled. Gingrey's office sent me the letter, which you can read in its entirety here, but here's the gist of it:

"As you know, IRS Director of Exempt Organizations Lois Lerner was placed on administrative leave on May 23, 2013, after refusing to resign. Despite the continued emergence of compelling facts detailing Ms. Lerner's involvement in the discriminatory targeting, Ms. Lerner continues to draw a $180,000 salary from the federal government. In being placed on administrative leave, Ms. Lerner is essentially taking a well-paid vacation on the taxpayer dime. Reports have not shown how many others involved could be doing the same.

"However, the Internal Revenue Service Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998 (P.L. 105-206) states that the IRS Commissioner 'shall terminate the employment of any employee' if there is 'a final administrative or judicial determination' of a violation of any of the IRS's so-called '10 deadly sins.'

"Under Lerner's leadership, two of these 'sins' appear to be especially applicable to the discriminatory targeting undertaken by the IRS Tax Exempt Division. One such 'sin' consists of 'the violation of any right under the Constituion of the United States' or various civil rights 'with respect to a taxpayer, taxpayer representative, or other employee of the Internal Revenue Service.' Another 'sin' involves violating the Internal Revenue Code, Department of Treasury regulations or the Internal Revenue Manual 'for the purpose of retaliating against, or harassing a taxpayer, taxpayer representative, or other employee of the Internal Revenue Service.'

"It appears to me that the two 'deadly sins' described above have been violated, yet there are no reports of anyone being fired. ..."

The letter goes on to ask, among other questions, whether any other IRS employees have been placed on administrative leave or fired due to the targeting of conservative groups, and whether any workers have been "placed into termination proceedings for violating one or more of the '10 deadly sins.' "

A Gingrey spokeswoman said the congressman sent the letter "in reaction to a news story about IRS employees being protected because they are federal union members." No word of any response from the IRS yet.

Kyle Wingfield

About Kyle Wingfield

Kyle Wingfield is the AJC's conservative columnist. He joined the AJC in 2009 after writing for the Wall Street Journal, based in Brussels, and the Associated Press, based in Atlanta and Montgomery, Ala.

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