Three cases of IRS employees and offices conducting illegal political activity are being investigated by the Office of Special Counsel (OSC), which includes the “commonplace” displays of pro-Obama screensavers on government computers and pro-Obama campaign-style buttons and stickers at IRS offices.
This comes as another stark revelation of alleged abuse by IRS employees and puts additional heat on the tax agency, which is already mired in scandal due to Lois G. Lerner’s Tea Party targeting debacle. The Dallas IRS office was accused by the OSC, an independent federal investigative andprosecutorial agency, of violating federal law by showing the buttons and stickers and customizing screensavers to serve as cheerleading devices for the President.
In a separate case, the OSC is seeking “significant disciplinary action” against an employee working on the IRS’s customer help line who was proselytizing “to re-elect President Obama in 2012 by repeatedly reciting a chant based on the spelling of his last name.”
In Kentucky, an IRS employee was served with a 14-day suspension for denigrating Republicans in a conversation with a taxpayer. “They’re going to take women back 40 years,” she said in a recorded conversation. Moreover, she insisted to the taxpayer that “if you vote for a Republican, the rich are going to get richer and the poor are going to get poorer.” The IRS employee acknowledged that she should not divulge her own political beliefs and asked that the taxpayer not expose her remarks.
The federal Hatch Act prohibits most federal employees from engaging in partisan political activity. The OSC is charged with investigating those violations.