Expatriate Owl

A politically-incorrect perspective that does not necessarily tow the party line, on various matters including but not limited to taxation, academia, government and religion.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Real Threats! (Or Not?)

So now the media is reporting that Lois Lerner and Steve Miller, key figures in this Internal Revenue Service controversy, have supposedly been the subjects of death threats.  My gut hunch, without the benefit of any further information, is that those aforenamed individuals did in fact receive some sort of verbal threats.  And if indeed such threats were made, then the perpetuators of those threats should be sent to the slammer.

This does not in any way constitute any manner of support or sympathy for Ms. Lerner or Mr. Miller.  It is very likely that they each knew more than they have thus far admitted, and that they still are sitting on some even more info regarding even more egregious details of the IRS's questionable deeds and omissions.  If they have committed crimes, then they certainly should be properly punished.

Nor can be ignored the value in alleging threats for the purpose of discrediting the alleged threatener.  It would play well into the agenda of certain political interests if certain people, Tea Partiers and otherwise, were made to look like irrational madmen/women.  Accordingly, one cannot totally dismiss the possibility that the alleged threats were (A) exaggerations of utterances (e.g., some passerby on the street, recognizing Lois or Steve, shouted "Go to Hell" to them); or (B) perhaps fabricated entirely.

Meanwhile, law and order need to prevail (if there still are such things in Washington any more), and the alleged threats need to be investigated and, if founded, decisively acted upon.

During my own time with the IRS, I was, to the best of my knowledge, never the target of any threats of violence.  The closest thing to any threat of violence I ever had was when I went on a field audit involving a certain organized crime figure, and some man, in all likelihood a Mob bodyguard, greeted me, escorted me to the office where I would conduct the audit, and told me to let him know if anyone made any threats to me.

I shortly thereafter learned that my experience in that regard was not unique.  Seems that the Mob likes to keep its disputes with the IRS off the public radar screens, and, with the ambiguities of the financial transactions and the ability to magically make money appear when needed, is usually well postured to settle its IRS cases early and quietly.  This is possible only if there are no criminal tax charges pending.  And threatening the tax man or tax woman is one sure way to turn a civil tax dispute into a criminal tax prosecution.

By ensuring the physical safety of the IRS guy/gal, and getting an early agreement in the case, the Mob's affairs stay out of the public eye, the IRS guy/gal chalks up a closed case for their statistics, and (at least in my day) everyone involved can rest assured that the particulars of the matter will be the topic of no further discussion.

And of course, when I left the IRS for private practice, I made sure to send out announcement cards to all of the lawyers, accountants and enrolled agents with whom I had cases.  I would later get a few referrals from them.

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