"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Thursday, May 23, 2013

A Very Important Memo from Cleta Mitchell of Foley and Lardner II

As I said in my last post, the key takeaway from Cleta  Mitchell's memo on the IRS scandal is that  all of the blather from Dems about how the flood of 501(c)(4) applications necessitated additional scrutiny is bullshit.     Here is how she makes the point.   Again, she is responding to a direct quote (bolded below) from Acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller when he was under oath testifying to Congress:

"I think that what happened here was that foolish mistakes were made by people who were trying to be more efficient in their workload selection."
So the decision to change a system that (prior to 2010) might ask 5 to 6 short questions specifically about an application to one that consisted of dozens of questions, necessitating volumes of materials and documents to be filed with the IRS was done in order to 'be more efficient'? Acting Commissioner Miller also spoke about IRS employees 'taking shortcuts'. This was hardly a 'shortcut' when it lengthened the process substantially, as documented in the TIGTA Report.
Indeed, as Mitchell demonstrates elsewhere, before 2010 501(c)(4) applications were typically processed in 3 to 6 months, and sometimes within a matter of weeks.   If the IRS was trying to be "more efficient," wouldn't they have wanted to shorten the time that they were spending on individual files, not lengthen the process?   Wouldn't they have wanted to ask fewer questions requiring less document review, rather than so many more questions requiring expansive document production and, presumably, review by agency personnel?   Isn't that what "efficiency" means?

Again, it just doesn't scan logically... unless you apply Occam's Razor.

They weren't trying to be efficient.   They weren't trying to expedite the process.   They were trying to do exactly what they ended up doing... delay specific types of applicants indefinitely so that they couldn't do what they intended to do:   advocate, lobby, and engage in political speech prior to the 2012 election.  

Updating Occam to 2013... the added bureaucratic inefficiency wasn't a bug... it was a feature.

No comments:

Post a Comment