IRS and union members attacked unjustly

July 10, 2013

Commentator Peter Morici errs in stating that the National Treasury Employees Union is deeply involved in the management of the IRS ("Declare independence from the IRS," July 5).

We have a contract to benefit our employees, but we do not manage the IRS. Mr. Morici also claims our union leaders do whatever it takes to defeat conservative politicians. This is pure fantasy.

Our union does not have the kind of money in our PAC that private sector organizations have. Secondly, NTEU does not care where on the political spectrum a politician falls. The union only looks at how members of Congress vote on issues that affect federal employees. We do not care if they are Democrats, Republicans or independents.

NTEU does not consult with President Barack Obama or leading Democratic politicians on electoral strategy. Mr. Morici says union leaders have cultivated a culture that encourages employees to exercise discretion in ways harmful to free speech and association. I have no idea how he came up with that one, which is outrageous. Nor do employees talk politics at work. The Hatch Act prohibits campaign banners, buttons, pictures, etc., in the workplace.

Mr. Morici says IRS is not neutral but a bunch of activists who have the power to destroy those who oppose liberal ideas and inflect terror on ordinary folks through arbitrary interpretations of the tax laws and onerous audits. This is a complete falsehood the writer should be ashamed of. Revenue agents audit the cases they receive and treat all taxpayers with respect.

We do not discuss politics with those we audit. We stick to the tax return. I have always treated my customers, the American taxpayer, the same way I would expect to be treated if I were on the other side. Congress creates the tax laws, not the IRS.

Finally, Mr. Morici talks about doing away with the current tax system and replacing it with a value added tax. This idea has been debated for years. I have no qualms about discussing another way of raising revenue in this country.

I am bothered by such unfair and inaccurate attacks on the IRS and the National Treasury Employees Union. None of us is perfect, but I'll stand up for my employer and my union when they are unjustly attacked.

George Schlaffer, Baltimore

The writer is president of NTEU Chapter 62.

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