Ethics investigators are accusing IRS officials and employees of promoting Democratic politics on government time, according to the Washington Times.
Republicans and IRS critics are saying that the new allegations are further evidence of the IRS targeting conservative groups.
In one of the cases investigators discovered an IRS employee had entered a debate with a taxpayer while he was working in an official capacity.
“They’re going to take women back 40 years,” the IRS employee said to the taxpayer in a conversation that was recorded. “If you vote for a Republican, the rich are going to get richer and the poor are going to get poorer.”
Employees also allegedly donned pro-Obama stickers and buttons while at work. Some also had Democratic political screen savers on their government computers.
The Washington Times reports:
“The IRS is out of control,” said Rep. Sam Johnson of Texas, one of the Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee to vote for the criminal accusation against Ms. Lerner.
He said accusations of IRS employees politicking on government time hurt Americans’ faith in the agency. “It’s no surprise that this is coming from the very same agency that targeted Americans based on their political beliefs.”
The Office of Special Counsel, which is charged with enforcing violations of the federal Hatch Act that prohibits most government employees from engaging in politics, listed three violations it found in the past few years.
In one case, a worker at the IRS customer help line urged taxpayers “to re-elect President Obama in 2012 by repeatedly reciting a chant based on the spelling of his last name,” the OSC said. The office is seeking “significant disciplinary action” against that employee.
The House Oversight committee has been investigating the IRS tax-exempt division head Lois Lerner’s involvement in the agency’s targeting conservative groups. Officials revealed last year that the IRS audited numerous conservative nonprofits due to their political affiliation and activity.