The following anecdotal story is from a friend who worked at the IRS and who wishes to remain anonymous. Her experience helps explain the answer to the following key question…
“The Inspector General’s report left unanswered a key question….how exactly IRS workers came to focus excessively on conservative groups. “We could not specifically determine who had been involved in creating this criteria” that lead to selection of so many applications from conservative groups for extra review, the report said in a footnote…” Wall Street Journal
Well, I do know how that process was carried out. I retired from the Internal Revenue Service in 2012 after 31+ years of service and having spent more than 13 years in the Examination and Criminal Investigation arenas. Specifically, there is an overwhelming sentiment at the IRS among employees and management….that frowns on “anything that even hints at THE TEA PARTY or Republican and/or Conservative points of view being discussed, presented or displayed while in or around the IRS compound (workplace).
I’ll relay what took place early 2010. I removed a hard copy of one of Glenn Beck’s books from my handbag. I placed it on the corner of my desk so that I would remember to take it with me on my lunch break. Later that afternoon, I was approached by my Manager, who informed me that someone in another work unit saw the book on my desk, considered it offensive and political in nature”, therefore it was deemed as inappropriate for the book to be displayed within the IRS workplace.
The employer who objected to the book, filed a complaint with his supervisor, who then counseled my supervisor. who was now informed that I must be told that displaying the book violated IRS policy, that this was a warning to me that I would be written up the next time any books or literature were exposed in the workplace.
It should be noted that out of the total 134 employees in the units at that time, there were only FIVE Glenn Beck followers in that one specific work group. It was discussed among us that we would never assemble at any one time of more than two of us at one time. If we were to pass along any literature, it would have to be exchanged off premises and books must be exchanged while the enclosed book’s must be placed in a nondescript covering/enclosure (after the fact of my encounter was relayed)…
Many IRS employees are union members and they vote Democratic. Their views are openly discussed among co-workers, yet anyone who might be considered to be Tea Party sympathizers….they are not able to have a voice within the confines of the IRS, going so far as to being threatened, that if I left another “political book” on my desk, I would be written up and a letter would be placed in my file.
I’m relaying this as an isolated incident as it relates to me personally However, I know this to be a policy in other IRS workplaces, in other areas and other IRS Service Center offices. If challenged, you will be informed that this is POLICY.