The IRS inspector general says the tax collection agency is aware of more than one million illegal immigrants stealing Social Security numbers of citizens to file tax returns, yet has done virtually nothing to stop the practice and has not even notified the Americans victimized by identity fraud.
According to reports, the IRS has been aware of the problem for at least five years but virtually nothing has been done to combat it. A test program to combat the fraud was scrapped and was deemed to be thoroughly insufficient anyway.
Rep. Dave Brat, R-Va, won his seat in Congress by toppling sitting House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in 2014, running on illegal immigration and fiscal discipline. He says this is a textbook case of the government ignoring one of its fundamental responsibilities.
“I used to teach ethics for 18 years at the college level, along with economics. You can’t make up a case study that is this crazy. I think I would give the students a migraine if they had to piece together the logic of everything that’s wrong here,” said Brat.
Brat says there’s really only one explanation for the IRS ignoring this problem.
“The politics are inescapable. At the top of the tickets we have Trump, who is going to be tough on illegal immigration, and Hillary Clinton, who wants a 500 percent increase in some of the categories of illegal immigration, the refugee crisis, etc.,” said Brat.
He concludes this dereliction is the result of politics based in part on his own encounter with embattled IRS Commissioner John Koskinen at a congressional hearing.
“Koskinen was in front of us and I asked him, ‘If you know that you have illegal aliens and they’re asking for tax refunds or asking for any tax status, would you do anything about it?’ He said no. I was stunned,” said Brat, who says Koskinen made the same assertion in Senate testimony.
“When he says it’s not my job to report illegal, much less unethical behavior, we’ve got a problem,” said Brat.
Brat says that sort of brazen defiance shows an agency that does not remember who it works for.
“Your ethical duty is to the American people. If they are now in harm’s way because their information has been stolen, my goodness, you have to let your constituents know and they failed that test as well, much less going after the illegals, which I’m sure would be at the bottom of the priority list,” said Brat.
Brat also cites Koskinen for disregarding the rule of law, but he adds that problem extends throughout the Obama administration.
“The premise in the first place has to be that you believe in the rule of law. So illegal immigrants who offend while they’re here, violating the law. So it’s two strikes and then this kind of a breach that effects the American people directly is strike three. We need to take action and we know President Obama won’t. We know Loretta Lynch won’t,” said Brat.
That leaves the job to other prominent leaders.
“It’s up to leadership on the Republican side. Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell need to step up and represent the American people when their rights are being violated and when their own personal, private financial information is being hijacked by folks who mean to do them harm. There’s no other conclusion,” said Brat.
Just prior to the current summer recess, members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus introduced a “privileged resolution” demanding a House vote to impeach Koskinen. Brat says this latest episode makes removing Koskinen a no-brainer.
“It’s a softball one foot in diameter going one mile an hour over home plate. If you can’t hit that, you’ve got problems. I hope leadership takes it up and runs with it because it’s the right thing to do and the American people will applaud us,” said Brat.
But he says leadership remains reluctant to pursue impeachment of Koskinen despite a laundry list of serious allegations.
“We’ve had a little pushback from our own leadership. I do not understand why. People across the United States are upset enough with the IRS targeting of conservatives and ethical breaches in the past. They’ve withheld evidence. They’ve destroyed evidence. And now you get stories like this,” said Brat.
“For some reason, leadership doesn’t want to fight on this one. I think they just don’t want to rock the boat before an election, but elections are about serving the American people,” said Brat.
Brat admits impeachment is not a tool to be wielded lightly, but he says it is thoroughly warranted in Koskinen’s case.
“There are high standards and you’re going to set a precedent, but this is a pretty good precedent. I don’t think you need to be Harvard Law to understand this is a pretty good precedent when you have the head of the IRS involved in so many unethical and illegal activities at the same time,” said Brat.