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Believe it or not: The IRS scandal - The Galveston County Daily News: Columns

October 22, 2016

Believe it or not: The IRS scandal

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  • bvresident posted at 6:56 am on Mon, Jun 30, 2014.

    bvresident Posts: 1763

    The IRS, the VA, the abuses in the (U)ACA, and all the rest are occurring because the Left knows the DOJ is not going to investigate or prosecute criminal conduct from the Left. That's why the IRS commissioner testilied under oath-because ain't nothin' gonna happen to him or anyone else at the IRS.

  • carlosrponce posted at 8:16 am on Mon, Jun 30, 2014.

    carlosrponce Posts: 6312

    Think about your own email. If your home computer were to crash, no problem! You can buy another computer, borrow a friends or go to the library and use theirs (just don't let it keep your user name and password). E-mails are not kept on the individual user computers but on the servers. I checked my account. I've got important stuff dating back to 1998 on my email account. Now I'm not saying that Government computers can be accessed outside the system. If they are wise the servers and individual computers are on a closed system. By law these servers have to be backed up. What's the general rule about keeping tax records in case you are audited? Six Years. IRS keeps your records SIX years.
    If Lois Lerner's individual computer crashed then was trashed, no big deal. The e-mails should be there. Also any email sent to the White House MUST be kept.
    Judge John Facciola issued an emergency order for the preservation of White House emails. January 16, 2009

  • npappous posted at 11:32 am on Mon, Jun 30, 2014.

    npappous Posts: 578


  • kevjlang posted at 1:33 pm on Mon, Jun 30, 2014.

    kevjlang Posts: 4036

    I heard that the government's servers were antiquated. They didn't have the disk space nor backup capacity to retain copies of all e-mails. So, the e-mails were pulled down to the individual computers and not necessarily backed up. This is in direct contrast to information security guidelines that have been standard practice in industry for quite some time.

    carlosrponce, I'm not sure who your e-mail provider is, or how you access your e-mail, but quite likely, if you are using a POP3 client to read your e-mail messages, there's a couple of settings in your client that can change everything you cite. There's one that indicates whether to download the messages to your computer, and another one to indicate what to do with the server copy once downloaded. Some clients just have a blanket Delete/Don't Delete, but most of the current ones allow you to just delete downloaded messages that are more than a certain number of days old.

    What the IRS is claiming happened to those e-mail messages is totally plausible. However, it shouldn't have been. It sounds to me that, if this is what really happened, that the root cause is that someone in the IT budgeting or spending area was a bit penny wise and pounds foolish.

    What I would do to test the credibility is to ask for some collection of IRS e-mail messages from between 2005 and 2008. Perhaps another set from 2009 and 2010. If it's just as difficult, if not impossible, to collect full sets of those messages, too, then it might be time for people to start considering that the missing e-mail messages have a lot to do with pure neglect of retention guidelines, rather than some plot to cover up stupid behavior.

  • carlosrponce posted at 2:47 pm on Mon, Jun 30, 2014.

    carlosrponce Posts: 6312

    Well there's a difference between a gmail, an aol, a hotmail etc type of email and one servicing a company or government entity. While working for a local school district, each teacher, administrator had an email account which could be monitored by the district. Student usage was also regulated and certain websites were blocked from access. Since by law IRS emails must be kept I doubt they could have been downloaded directly to each users individual work station and deleted. And don't forget that in 2011 they told everyone that tax refunds might be late due to computer upgrades. (See IRS scrambling to update computers 1/11/2011)
    The IRS makes it sound like they are using an old Eniac Computer with computer punch cards. Don't buy that nonsense. No company can keep up with new technology. The IRS claims they could use $40 million in new tech and yet they spent $90 million in bonuses, $60,000 in a Star Trek and Gilligan's Island spoofs.

  • kevjlang posted at 4:57 pm on Mon, Jun 30, 2014.

    kevjlang Posts: 4036

    Like I said, penny wise and pound foolish. I never said that the IRS didn't have the money to maintain a sustainable back office. I said that if they didn't, and local archives were all they were supporting for "retention", then this is quite feasible. However, it's unlikely that this scenario would be isolated under such a set-up, which is why I recommend looking for other sample periods. Now, the ability to recreate all these other sample periods doesn't necessarily mean that something less than random happened, it would, at least, seem to open the doors that something other than odds caught up to them.

  • carlosrponce posted at 8:07 pm on Mon, Jun 30, 2014.

    carlosrponce Posts: 6312

    The problem is all "official" emails have to be reported, copied and stored. What about "alias" e-mail accounts. Former EPA administrator Lisa Jackson used an alias email account under the name “Richard Windsor” to conduct official business. Another EPA regional administrator resigned shortly after Oversight Committee began investigating him for using a private email address. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius also used a secret email address.

  • paul-hyatt posted at 7:26 am on Tue, Jul 1, 2014.

    paul-hyatt Posts: 582

    Mr. Ponce you know as well as I do that this adminstration in Washington is always doing things that are not exactly legal and they push the envelope to the point that they do not bend the rules they break them.... Add to this fact that we have an AG Eric Holder who like you said will NOT prosecute anyone in this adminstration as he is blind in both eyes to what they are doing.... He does look at all returning Vets as NONE of this adminstration trust anyone who is in the military or has been in the military or anyone who does not trust them. Even when the SCOTUS slaps them down they will not stop.... Now Obama is going to bypass Congress again and write more EO's to make laws and give himself powers without Congressional approval....

  • kevjlang posted at 9:23 am on Tue, Jul 1, 2014.

    kevjlang Posts: 4036

    carlosrponce, nowhere did I say that this follows policy, or any kind of norms. Regardless of how the paper-trail got broken, it should be taken seriously. I'm just saying that if the IRS's infrastructure really was allowed to be that fragile, it's quite likely that these e-mails got lost through random actions, rather than scandalous behavior. That doesn't mean that the e-mails might have been able to uncover a scandal, but the loss may well have not been scandal.

  • vic krc posted at 4:44 pm on Tue, Jul 1, 2014.

    vic krc Posts: 297

    "Plausible Deniability" - the last refuge of scoundrels.[tongue]

  • carlosrponce posted at 5:08 pm on Tue, Jul 1, 2014.

    carlosrponce Posts: 6312

    kevjlang, you are too trusting. As for me, I smell a RAT.

  • vic krc posted at 5:18 pm on Tue, Jul 1, 2014.

    vic krc Posts: 297

    Better yet, the FIRST refuge of political scoundrels,

  • kevjlang posted at 6:21 pm on Tue, Jul 1, 2014.

    kevjlang Posts: 4036

    I don't know what I smell. I think that we need to find out what it is and where it's coming from. Besides, I'm concerned about what we don't smell yet. If we're smelling it, it's quite possibly dead. It's the stuff living in the woodwork that I want to find out about.

    If the IRS was dealing with crippled infrastructure, most likely it was dealing with it for years--years before Obama. What else could be hidden in PC drives that we don't know about? If there's a scandal here, I doubt the culture that allowed it was one that was just cooked up during the current administration. This is a culture that could have gotten away with lots of smaller stuff first. One that could date back a decade or more. This may very well be one of many trees in the forest. Feel free to bark up this tree, but best to send a bunch of dogs barking up the rest of the trees in the forest, too. If there's a prize in one tree, most likely there's more in others. Unless, of course, you're afraid of what might turn up elsewhere. Could this culture turn up juicy morsels from prior administrations, too? How far back? It's much easier for a vital hard drive to turn up crashed if you have an organization that has cultured such stuff for a long time.

    I'm not big on conspiracy theories. I'm even less so on conspiracies cooked up in just a short amount of time. Obama just hasn't been in office long enough to develop things to this extent. If it's a conspiracy, the mechanisms exploited have been there for years. Otherwise, you wouldn't have had so many mouths closed for so long while this was going on. Things outside the norm have a better chance of causing flags to raise than things that are SOP.

  • carlosrponce posted at 7:03 pm on Tue, Jul 1, 2014.

    carlosrponce Posts: 6312

    You are right about the IRS. I think it's time we replace the current Income Tax with a simplified tax system and pare down the huge bureaucracy which is IRS. Read this report dated January 2, 2002:
    The IRS has lost or misplaced 2,332 laptop computers, desktop computers and servers over three years, according to a recent report by Treasury Department auditors. They concluded it's a persistent problem: The IRS has "reported a material weakness in inventory controls" every year since 1983.

  • kevjlang posted at 7:39 pm on Tue, Jul 1, 2014.

    kevjlang Posts: 4036

    I'll bet this isn't isolated to the IRS, or even Treasury. I don't think that DoD, HUD, Energy, Education, HHS, DHS, or any of the other federal organizations are models of information accountability. I seem to recall Reagan taking a stab at improving efficiency and accountability when he was in office, but he never finished it, and I don't think that anyone since has taken much of a stab at it.

    I'll bet if we just cleaned up the accountability and efficiency of our government, we might be talking about surpluses. We probably wouldn't be talking about slashing welfare programs merely to make a debt in the deficit. From my point of view, the biggest "welfare" program we're paying for, by far, is the waste in the government, and I'd bet that it's ROI is much lower than the one people harp about.

  • carlosrponce posted at 10:40 pm on Tue, Aug 26, 2014.

    carlosrponce Posts: 6312

    Surprise, surprise, surprise!
    "Government lawyers have told a watchdog group suing over the Internal Revenue Service scandal that Lois Lerner’s emails aren’t missing after all."

  • carlosrponce posted at 9:46 am on Fri, Aug 29, 2014.

    carlosrponce Posts: 6312

    Why little news reports that Lois Lerner's BlackBerry was deliberately destroyed after the start of congressional probe? Coverup aided by the media?

  • gecroix posted at 11:40 am on Fri, Aug 29, 2014.

    gecroix Posts: 6261

    In case you haven't noticed, Carlos, the usual suspects have been given the approved talking points to repeat that the IRS abuse is juts another phony scandal.
    They believe that because they were told to by the phony President...[wink]