April 15 Love Letter to Congress

by Carol Ward

Carol Ward beat the IRS, kinda. Following is her letter to Congress telling them exactly why the "IRS Reform and Restructuring Act of 1997" is just one more sad joke being played upon the American people.

The smell of legislative fervor is in the air. While the gainfully employed attend to their given treadmills back in the districts, Congress labors in D.C. to perfect its high wire act feigning revolutionary gusto over IRS reform for constituents--while skillfully preserving the status quo.
Translation? The IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1997...soon to be amended with similar blather from the Senate. The bill restructures but will not reform and isnít worth the paper itís written on.
My credentials for criticism of these toothless charades come from my recent "victory" in federal court against the IRS. I am probably the most high profile victim of IRS abuse in this decade. Iíve lived this stuff and navigated the carefully constructed maze of federal court.
I was framed as a drug dealer by an IRS agent in Colorado Springs, Colorado, who didnít even know my social security number.
My crime? I told her that I thought her skills would be better suited to dishing up chicken fried steak on the interstate somewhere in west Texas.
Needless to say she was unamused. Within four weeks all of our bank accounts and the inventories of our three children stores were emptied by armed IRS agents.
The IRS agents left signs in the windows of our business which alleged that we used phony names and social security numbers, that we had taken trips overseas with large amounts of cash, and that we had accrued a $324,000 liability to the IRS.
An after the fact audit produced much different results.
Within 60 days the IRS was offering to give everything back for $3,485 if we would sign an agreement not to sue them. I said no.
Five months later: The IRS gave everything back to us in front of cameras for the TV news magazine Inside Edition.
Two years later, I obtained legal counsel.
By that time statute of limitations had run out on claims for "Wrongful Levy," "Wrongful use of Jeopardy Assessment," "Failure to Release Lien" and "Abuse of Process."
Some say this was a multi-million dollar lawsuit, combining high drama and the worst of the "Bad Cop Syndrome" within the IRS.
I was unable to enlist the help of trial lawyers because of the powerful statutory limitations on legal fees paid when suing the federal government.
Fast forward to 1997: The honorable Rob Portman (R-Ohio) trots out for a photo-op, wielding the new improved IRS Restructuring and Reform Act.
I am unimpressed. He beams for the cameras, bursting with saintly goodness as though at any moment the author of HR2676 would have birds roosting on his outstretched fingers and furry woodland creatures nuzzling his ankles.
Sorry Rob, youíve thrown us yet another day old fish--with the statutory disincentive for lawsuits against IRS firmly in place.
This is not rocket science. The boys and girls in the House and Senate know exactly what they are doing each time they perform this bait and switch game. There are still no incentives within IRS to police their own and if some poor slob is dismembered in the machinery of tax collection there are no remedies without a lawyer. Statutory limitations to legal fees lessens the chances for counsel. Government wants trial lawyers out there suing big business, small business--any business but government business--as usual.
I have recommended many changes to current law which would change the management attitude toward criminality within IRS. How about making all damages, actual and punitive, together with legal fees and costs, be the responsibility of the offending agency? This could be used at EPA, EEOC, all of the alphabet soup agencies, who feast upon unsuspecting Americans. How about making interest paid on a judgment due from the first day? (I was awarded a large sum on June 2, 1996. The judge has been hiding in his chambers since the feds filed a post-trial motion legal fees. Our judge comes out every so often to instruct us to play nice and settle our differences).
Interest doesnít begin to accrue until the feds file an appeal. But there are many, many more post trial motions to be filed in a lawsuit that they know is virtually appeal proof.
Another suggestion I proffer is that interest paid on judgments against the IRS be equal to or exceeding the rate paid by delinquent taxpayers.
Chew on that one for awhile.
Bottom Line: Until I see something substantial coughed up by Congress I remain convinced that members of Congress, upon inauguration to the beltway club, have an intrinsic conflict of interest where the IRS is concerned.
Members of Congress buy influence with dollars that they steal from us. That influence (usually for a wealthy constituent), in turn yields campaign donations. Wealthy campaign coffers insure a return visit to Washington D.C. where they steal more money from us. And on it goes.
Democracy will not survive in this environment. Our Jeffersonian Republic never envisioned a democracy wherein two wolves and a sheep vote on what to have for dinner.
Iíve been the entree and I will warn you all that it has changed the direction of my life. I will bring down this government one brick at a time Ďtil the day I die so that others may live.

The cartoon below was drawn specially for Ms. Ward for publication in her local newspaper by Chuck Asay of the Colorado Springs Telegraph Gazette. Mr. Asay is one of the most prolific and undeniably right on target conservative political cartoonists alive today.