The week after Republicans’ historic 2010 midterm election landslide, President Barack Obama appointed the union president that represents “tens of thousands in the IRS,” Colleen Kelley, to a key Administration post. Two years later, that union, the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU), contributed $580,412 to federal candidates–94% of which were Democrats.
The position Obama appointed Kelley to: the Federal Salary Council, an advisory group charged with recommending federal employee raises.
Representing 150,000 members from 31 federal agencies and departments including the Internal Revenue Service, the NTEU bills itself as the nation’s largest independent federal union. Kelley, herself a former IRS Agent, commands her union brigade with partisan ferocity.
“I guess the Republicans’ idea of shared sacrifice is that they have lots of ways to share the money they take away from the only group actually sacrificing–middle class federal workers,” Kelley said last February.
And when it came time to rally the troops to reelect Obama, Kelley rose to the occasion. “NTEU supported the re-election of President Obama,” said Kelley. “He is the right leader for our country and for the dedicated members of the federal workforce.”
Indeed, IRS agents strongly supported Obama. As Breitbart News reported Monday, IRS employees donated over two-and-a-half times as much to Obama as to Mitt Romney.
Now, however, with the IRS in the center of the political profiling scandal, the Kelley and the NTEU have gone quiet.
“NTEU is working to get the facts but does not have any specifics at this time,” Kelley wrote in an email reply to The Washington Post. “Moreover, IRS employees are not permitted to discuss taxpayer cases. We cannot comment further at this time.”
American Spectator reporter Jeffrey Lord says behind NTEU and Kelley’s silence lies a nexus of attitudes and actions that may prove critical in understanding the IRS targeting scandal and the culture that fueled it.
“What attitude are you going to display as you review Tea Party applications that must, by law, come in to the IRS for approval?” asks Lord. “You already know what to do. And inside the IRS, that’s exactly what was done.”
Lord added: “The Tea Party, in the vernacular, was screwed. By IRS bureaucrats whose union money is being used to attack the Tea Party. Of course these IRS employees know what to do–most probably without even being asked.”
The House Ways and Means Committee will hold the first hearing on the IRS conservative targeting scandal this Friday when recently resigned acting IRS Commissioner Steve Miller and Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration J. Russell George are scheduled to testify.