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Lois Lerner and The Do-As-I-Say, Not Do-As-I-Do Bureaucratic Disease

Lois Lerner

Our colleague Mark J. Fitzgibbons has dealt with many good people who work for the government and actually follow the law. Yet there are numerous regulation-making bureaucrats who break laws while enforcing the law on citizens.

Fitzgibbons writes in the conservative blog American Thinker of Lois Lerner’s impressive rise through the federal bureaucracy where she ultimately gained “immense power over the existence, reporting, and even the constitutional rights of nonprofit organizations” as the head of the Exempt Organization (EO) division at the Internal Revenue Service. “Lois Lerner was a law enforcement zealot who obviously didn’t exactly practice what she preached.”

During her tenure as head of EO, Lerner significantly altered the IRS Form 990, which is the tax return for filed by nonprofits. These 990’s are accessible by the public and reveal tons of information.

Fitzgibbons, who tracks the nonprofit industry closely, writes that “there is an exceptional amount of fraud and theft within nonprofits that receive government funding compared to those that do not.”

“Lerner the Democrat, however, did not make it easier for people to determine how much money charities receive from government. That is a key indicator for many people who wish to donate to charities. It also affects costs-of-fundraising ratios that many charity watchdog groups use to score charities. Conservative organizations that do not take government funds naturally have higher ratios and lower scores.”

Lerner was nevertheless proud of her reforms to Form 990. In 2007, the Center for Effective Government wrote, “The New York Times reports on some of the initial reactions to the 990 changes. According to IRS Exempt Organizations Director Lois Lerner, the redesign of Form 990 is ‘the biggest thing the exempt organizations division at IRS has done in the last quarter century.’”

Sections of Lerner’s 2011 Annual Report offer some hilarious irony:

EO remains committed to providing quality service and, like most exempt organizations, we are looking at new and alternative means to get the job done. 
We are relying more on the Internet and are continually improving our systems and offerings to help the exempt sector with easily accessible, timely information and educational content.

This allows us to use data analytics and build risk models that will guide our work and greatly improve our ability to support high standards of transparency and stewardship among exempt organizations.
As always, we look forward to working with our partners and
stakeholders in the year ahead.

Lois G. Lerner
Director, Exempt Organizations

Lerner even gave a 2012 speech at a popular annual Georgetown University Law School conference where she stated, “Good governance and tax compliance go hand in hand.”

Fitzgibbons points out that it’s even been reported that Lerner “transmitted confidential taxpayer information on 990s, which is a felony when done intentionally.” Wow.

Read the full article in the American Thinker blog, HERE.

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