It appears as though the IRS, under the leadership of Commissioner Mark W. Everson, just might be going into the business of politics.
Everson has ordered his agency to delay collecting back taxes from survivors of Hurrican Katrina, until after the upcoming November 7 elections and the holiday season.
Everson said he wanted to avoid any negative publicity, and commented "We are very sensitive to political perceptions."
According to the New York Times, four former commissioners of the IRS, who served under Republican and Democratic presidents, stated that they felt it was inappropriate to delay IRS enforcement actions due to political events.
Jerome Kurtz, IRS Commissioner during Jimmy Carter's administration, said "Oh my God, that is unthinkable." Charles O. Rossotti, who served as commissioner during the Clinton and Bush administrations, sad "That's not appropriate."
It should be noted here that Everson has very close ties to the Bush White House. He was Deputy Director of the Budget Office at the White House until Bush nominated him to be commissioner of the IRS. His wife served as chief ethics lawyer in the Bush White House.
I happen to believe the federal government should waive debt collection for survivors of Hurricane Katrina, especially in light of the government's abismal response to the hurricane, and leaving people on house rooftops to die. But if they are going to collect back taxes from Hurricane Katrina survivors, why the political calculation of waiting until after the November 7 election and upcoming holidays, Mr.Everson? Unless, of course, you want to make sure your friend George has a Republican-controlled Congress to continue to rubber stamp his agenda for the duration of his lame duck presidency.