As the House Judiciary Committee moves forward with the first of two hearings examining whether IRS Commissioner John Koskinen should be impeached for misconduct Tuesday, it seems the mindset that targeting conservative groups is OK has not changed one bit among some employees at the agency.
During a Washington Journal segment on C-SPAN, a self-identified IRS employee called in to tell guest Cleta Mitchell, an attorney representing targeted conservative groups, that he would continue to go after the groups she represents.
“I am a lowly clerk at the IRS, looking at your application for tax-free status,” said Bill, the caller from Elizabeth, New Jersey. “I go to your web page to see the goals of your group and one of the goals of your group is to abolish the IRS.”
“You can bet every dollar you got I’m going to go after you and target you and try and end your group and that’s just the way it is,” he continued.
Mitchell, who was on the show to discuss the possible impeachment of Koskinen, informed the caller that that type of behavior was out of line.
“Well, it shouldn’t be that way, actually, and I don’t know anybody who said they would they would get rid of the IRS, but if they did that’s their right, that’s their First Amendment right to do that,” Mitchell responded. “And a government employee is not supposed to superimpose his beliefs or his judgment or his concern about his job over those of a citizen who has a First Amendment right to express that opinion to abolish the IRS or to change the tax code.”
“Many of these groups did say they wanted lower taxes, they wanted to repeal the 16th Amendment, perhaps, that establishes the income tax,” Mitchell said.
“A government employee works for us and it’s not the government employee’s right or obligation and it’s not permissible for an IRS employee to say ‘I don’t like that group and so I’m going to try to punish them’ – that is viewpoint discrimination and it’s unconstitutional,” she said.