Remove the Criminal Investigation Division from the IRS?
The release of a bipartisan report by the Senate Finance Committee earlier this month into the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) treatment of organizations applying for tax-exempt status has the agency in the news again.
In the face of a continuing pall over the agency, the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA) issued a statement to Congress urging it to pull the IRS Criminal Investigation Division (CID) out of the agency and place it within the Treasury Department, reporting to the Treasury Secretary.
“While the Lois Lerner IRS email scandal continues to resonate and dilute public confidence in the agency's integrity to administer the tax laws fairly, honorable Special Agents in the IRS Criminal Investigation Division (CID) have suffered the collateral damage of ‘guilt by association,’” FLEOA National President Jon Adler stated. “These professional Criminal Investigators fall under the tarnished IRS roof and have endured both a reputation taint and a reduction in funding that has had a crippling effect on their ability to carry out their formidable mission.”
Given that CID Special Agents “play a pivotal role in terrorist financing investigations, transnational monetary crimes, identity theft, cybercrimes, and other top priority criminal investigations,” FLEOA argues that “if CID remains under the IRS, this proud law enforcement component with inherit nothing but an unjustifiable demise.”
In recent years Congress has drastically cut the IRS budget, with enforcement operations and staffing significantly affected. Agent staffing numbers are “perilously low and reflective of their agent complement from the 1970's,” according to FLEOA. As a result, CID Agents initiated nearly 1,000 less criminal investigations in 2014 than in 2012 or 2013.
Due to budget cuts, CID Chief Richard Weber sent a letter earlier this year to all U.S. Attorneys notifying them that his smaller contingent of agents would be less able to assist in investigations, despite their desire to do so.
“FLEOA maintains that this matter would be corrected if CID was situated with direct line reporting to the Treasury Secretary. The remarkable results of their critical investigative work wouldn't be lost under the disheartening dark cloud that continues to rain on the IRS; or perhaps more accurately, as IRS rains on itself,” Adler continued in the statement.
The FLEOA statement is concluded with a call to Congress to take legislative action to move CID out of the IRS, repositioned along with the Inspector General, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration and the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program. It also calls for the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence to be repositioned under CID.
Posted in General News