IRS Commissioner: My Agency Needs 'to walk a mile in the taxpayers' shoes.'

IRS Commissioner: My Agency Needs 'to walk a mile in the taxpayers' shoes.'

In April 2009 IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman testified at the House Small Business Committee hearing on IRS Oversight. During questioning Shulman offered that a “big focus” of his time at the IRS would be a concerted effort to insure his Agency operated with appropriate respect for those they dealt with.

“I’m a big believer that if you’re going to run a government agency andif you’re going to operate with the power and authority of law that agovernment agency has, you need to be very focused on understanding theimpact on the people that you effect” Shulman told Rep. Sam Graves. Shulman added that “The phrase I always use with our people is we need to walk a mile in the taxpayers’ shoes.”

That care for the appropriate use of government power apparently didn’t get through to members of the Exempt Organization’s unit who, less than a year later, began improperly targeting Tea Party groups for scrutiny which lasted more than two years. The selection criteria for additional scrutiny eventually included “Statements in the case file that are critical of how the country is being run.” In his testimony before Congress, Commissioner Shulman claimed not to know anything about this.

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