Who Is Responsible For Employee Actions?

I continue to question the motives and abilities of large government. Our latest scandal involves the IRS. The Internal, or Infernal as some would describe it, Revenue Service is under fire for its targeting of conservative groups for added scrutiny. According to the WSJ this morning there are emails, oh those emails, which surfaced in 2011 describing decisions made by certain people within the IRS in 2010. Government transparency is once again an issue.  The head of the IRS is pleading the 5th although she has stated that she has done nothing wrong.

The emails are very clear about criteria used to select organizations applying for nonprofit status for additional screening. In a June, 2011 email, John Schafer, a screening manager in Cincinnati, “outlined the criteria the group was using to select applications for extra review. They included references in the case file to tea party, patriots, or 9/12 project; issues such as government spending, debt and taxes, advocacy or legislative activity to make America a better place to live; and statements in the case file that are critical of how the country is being run.” This does remind me of Richard Nixon.

Is this really big government gone wild, as Daniel Henninger argues in his editorial this morning? Henninger focuses on a comment by David Axelrod, an advisor to President Clinton and currently the senior advisor to President Obama, “Part of being President is that there’s so much beneath you that you can’t know, because the government is so vast.” Henninger goes on to argue, “Under Mr. Axelrod’s Spock like logic, the Federal government has become a Milky Way of incomprehensibility, and so it follows that the IRS scandal could have originated with a few federal Klingons in faraway Cincinnati.”

Although many pundits are trying to tie this to President Obama, the fact is in all organizations there are underlings that make dumb decisions. The CEO who’s underlings made the stupid decision, have the responsibility to hold accountable the people responsible for said dumb decision. The managers and perpetrators should be dealt with. It is when we hide actions to attempt to minimize the exposure that trouble occurs.

President Obama is not the first President to use the IRS to address an enemy. Kennedy, LBJ, Nixon, and others have all used this mechanism for striking fear into the heart of an opponent. However, now that it is exposed, it is best to deal with the situation in an open and honest, at least as much as possible, way. On NPR yesterday I heard people using the impeachment word for President Obama. However, I am not convinced this is warranted.

The fact is government in the United States has been designed to enhance transparency and accountability. But that does not exclude our responsibility in the evolution of our country. We need to pay attention and vote. We must be involved in the process of government. And we must pray. Pray that our leaders perform their jobs well, and that God expose those things that should not be done.

I don’t care whether we are government leaders, leaders in our community, or leaders of our families, when we do sneaky things, thinking no one will see them, we get ourselves in trouble. Henninger makes a good points when he says, “It isn’t just these scandals [discussing the IRS, Obamacare, and Dodd-Frank events]. Rather than delivering good, smart and transparent government, the Obama policy squads are doing what happens after they realize the good model isn’t working as they planned. Then we get what’s coming to light right now – government that coerces people or pushes past the laws limits. This is government gone wild.” This is not a government we want, no matter which party is in control.

We need to pay attention, if not we will get what we deserve, no matter who is in power.

And that is my thought for the day!


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