Detail, east Portland photo, courtesy Miles Hochstein / Portland Ground.



For old times' sake
The bojack bumper sticker -- only $1.50!

To order, click here.







Excellent tunes -- free! And on your browser right now. Just click on Radio Bojack!






E-mail us here.

About

This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on November 23, 2004 12:58 PM. The previous post in this blog was Visitor's gallery. The next post in this blog is This one's a keeper. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

Archives

Links

Law and Taxation
How Appealing
TaxProf Blog
Mauled Again
Tax Appellate Blog
A Taxing Matter
TaxVox
Tax.com
Josh Marquis
Native America, Discovered and Conquered
The Yin Blog
Ernie the Attorney
Conglomerate
Above the Law
The Volokh Conspiracy
Going Concern
Bag and Baggage
Wealth Strategies Journal
Jim Hamilton's World of Securities Regulation
myCorporateResource.com
World of Work
The Faculty Lounge
Lowering the Bar
OrCon Law

Hap'nin' Guys
Tony Pierce
Parkway Rest Stop
Utterly Boring.com
Along the Gradyent
Dwight Jaynes
Bob Borden
Dingleberry Gazette
The Red Electric
Iced Borscht
Jeremy Blachman
Dean's Rhetorical Flourish
Straight White Guy
HinesSight
Onfocus
Jalpuna
Beerdrinker.org
As Time Goes By
Dave Wagner
Jeff Selis
Alas, a Blog
Scott Hendison
Sansego
The View Through the Windshield
Appliance Blog
The Bleat

Hap'nin' Gals
My Whim is Law
Lelo in Nopo
Attorney at Large
Linda Kruschke
The Non-Consumer Advocate
10 Steps to Finding Your Happy Place
A Pig of Success
Attorney at Large
Margaret and Helen
Kimberlee Jaynes
Cornelia Seigneur
Mireio
And Sew It Goes
Mile 73
Rainy Day Thoughts
That Black Girl
Posie Gets Cozy
{AE}
Cat Eyes
Rhi in Pink
Althouse
GirlHacker
Ragwaters, Bitters, and Blue Ruin
Frytopia
Rose City Journal
Type Like the Wind

Portland and Oregon
Isaac Laquedem
StumptownBlogger
Rantings of a [Censored] Bus Driver
Jeff Mapes
Vintage Portland
The Portlander
South Waterfront
Amanda Fritz
O City Hall Reporters
Guilty Carnivore
Old Town by Larry Norton
The Alaunt
Bend Blogs
Lost Oregon
Cafe Unknown
Tin Zeroes
David's Oregon Picayune
Mark Nelsen's Weather Blog
Travel Oregon Blog
Portland Daily Photo
Portland Building Ads
Portland Food and Drink.com
Dave Knows Portland
Idaho's Portugal
Alameda Old House History
MLK in Motion
LoveSalem

Retired from Blogging
Various Observations...
The Daily E-Mail
Saving James
Portland Freelancer
Furious Nads (b!X)
Izzle Pfaff
The Grich
Kevin Allman
AboutItAll - Oregon
Lost in the Details
Worldwide Pablo
Tales from the Stump
Whitman Boys
Misterblue
Two Pennies
This Stony Planet
1221 SW 4th
Twisty
I am a Fish
Here Today
What If...?
Superinky Fixations
Pinktalk
Mellow-Drama
The Rural Bus Route
Another Blogger
Mikeyman's Computer Treehouse
Rosenblog
Portland Housing Blog

Wonderfully Wacky
Dave Barry
Borowitz Report
Blort
Stuff White People Like
Worst of the Web

Valuable Time-Wasters
My Gallery of Jacks
Litterbox, On the Prowl
Litterbox, Bag of Bones
Litterbox, Scratch
Maukie
Ride That Donkey
Singin' Horses
Rally Monkey
Simon Swears
Strong Bad's E-mail

Oregon News
KGW-TV
The Oregonian
Portland Tribune
KOIN
Willamette Week
KATU
The Sentinel
Southeast Examiner
Northwest Examiner
Sellwood Bee
Mid-County Memo
Vancouver Voice
Eugene Register-Guard
OPB
Topix.net - Portland
Salem Statesman-Journal
Oregon Capitol News
Portland Business Journal
Daily Journal of Commerce
Oregon Business
KPTV
Portland Info Net
McMinnville News Register
Lake Oswego Review
The Daily Astorian
Bend Bulletin
Corvallis Gazette-Times
Roseburg News-Review
Medford Mail-Tribune
Ashland Daily Tidings
Newport News-Times
Albany Democrat-Herald
The Eugene Weekly
Portland IndyMedia
The Columbian

Music-Related
The Beatles
Bruce Springsteen
Seal
Sting
Joni Mitchell
Ella Fitzgerald
Steve Earle
Joe Ely
Stevie Wonder
Lou Rawls

E-mail, Feeds, 'n' Stuff

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Guess who wants to read your tax return

The Republican leadership in Congress wants to be able to send congressional committee staff members out to the IRS service centers and have them read your tax return.

At least, that's what they slipped into the big budget bill that's awaiting the President's signtaure.

That is, until somebody noticed.

Now no one in either house of Congress is admitting to having even looked at the provision before voting on the bill.

The new Congress isn't even here yet, and already I can see that the next four years are going to be extremely depressing.

Comments (13)

And its not like legislation moves so quickly that there isn't time to read the bills. The legislative process is painstakingly slow.

The real question is who slipped that section in and why? You know its some "model" langauge the legislator had sitting around his office and he thought he could sneak it through in this bill.

Drive me crazy.

Everything I've read and heard about this sounds like an honest mistake. In an effort to increase Congressional oversight of the IRS--which is a popular if (in my opinion) misguided response to real and perceived abuses by our taxing authorities--a provision was inserted that unwittingly would have given congressional leadership access to individual tax returns.

Now that they understand that, Congress is acting swiftly to delete the provision. A ham-handed way to write laws, I'll admit, but hardly a conspiracy to invade people's privacy.

I guess that since no one's owning up to having written these words, we'll never know what their intent was.

Right on point as to who reads these bills, or doesn't -- and from your local paper yesterday (about my local Congressman):

Link here.

I wrote extensively about this at the other blog where I hang out these days. It's no accident. You have to have the patience to wade through the legislative documents, but any claim that it was inaedvertent was bullshit, and the idea that it "accidentally" gave the chairs access to tax returns is equally hogwash, because that it all, by its terms, that it does.

http://www.thisisnotover.com/archives/2004/11/more_about_that.html

Here is what the bill actually says:

"Hereafter, notwithstanding any other provision of law governing the disclosure of income tax returns or return information, upon written request of the chairman of the House or Senate Committee on Appropriations, the commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service shall allow agents designated by such chairman access to Internal Revenue Service facilities and any tax returns or return information contained therein."

That's the committee chairs, or whatever "agents" they designate.

Oklahoma State Representative Ernest Istook, took responsibility for inserting the income tax snoop provision, then backtracked the next day. A real flip-flop. Caught red-handed by the good Senator from N. Dakota. Watching the water hit the wheel on C-Span was as good as watching the Beavers thump the Ducks.

Other provisions slipped in the Omnibus Bill were cuts to college student's Pell Grants. The maximum grant will be frozen at $4,050. This freeze will hit lower-middle class families the hardest.

We all read the headline that fewer Freshman have enrolled in Oregon Universities. So much for social mobility via higher ed.

Another provision that was sneaked in by Republicans was the legislation that exempts doctors and nurses from providing any form of counseling, education, or referral information to women seeking information about reproductive options. So much for elevating the status of women.

It's gonna be a long four years.

The Democrats tried to slip in one changing the overtime rules, but it got axed.

When Democrats do it, that's good; when Republicans do it, that's bad.

The effort will be continued by U-Boat Captain Ted Kennedy and Tom "I was in Vietnam, oh no, wait, no I wasn't" Harkin.

They got to do what the Union thugs tell them or they'll sleep with the fishes.

What a great time to be alive in America. I'm just loving all this Christian spirit I'm feeling out there.

It's just not possible that it accidentally gave them access to individual tax returns, since it names the committee chairs, and it uses the words "tax returns."

If it said, "Congress shall have access to the tax information necessary to properly oversee IRS field office operations" or something of that nature, it might be believable that they didn't anticipate the privacy aspects. But it specifically (1) "notwithstanding"s out the privacy laws about individual tax returns; (2) names the committee chairs; and (3) says that they are to have access to "tax returns."

There simply isn't anything inadvertent about what was done. It's an intelligence-insulting explanation on the part of Frist and friends. They're lying, and among the various folks involved, they've told about six different lies about it already. "My God, we had no idea that provision was in there!" "Well, we did, but we didn't know it did that!" "Well, we knew it did that, but that really isn't that bad." "Istook did it." "A staffer did it." "An IRS employee did it."

Yeah. Come up with a coherent version, and we'll go about responding to it.

This is clearly an example of what happens when provisions are hastily written and inserted into a bill at the last minute, but I still don't see the smoking gun of bad faith here.

By its express terms, the language in the bill authorizes the chairman to designate (in writing) agents to investigate IRS facilities and any tax returns and return information contained within. This is terrible legislation and rife with potential for abuse but it is not hard to imagine a staffer writing something like that when his or her boss says, "Put something in that will keep the IRS from hiding behind claims of privacy the next time we're investigating their abuse of taxpayers."

Any committee chairman who took the time to think about this would realize the vulnerable position he or she would be in if they ever exercised this power, much less abused it. This provision is dumb, dumb, dumb--but I really don't think it was a calculated attempt to go back to the days when JFK could order the IRS to audit all the officers of U.S. Steel unless they rolled back their proposed price increases.

Well, the first "smoking gun," which I discussed in the blog post I referenced above and won't belabor again, is that the provision is intentionally obscured in the summary document signed by Republican committee members.

Furthermore, why would the chairs of the Appropriations committees -- who are not the ones with general oversight authority over the IRS -- need to look at tax returns or investigate abuse of taxpayers? General revenue provisions are under the jurisdiction of the Ways and Means Committee. Why would IRS misdeeds be investigated by the Appropriations committee?

Further-furthermore, the Appropriations Committee site now blames people who objected to the provision for objecting to it (of course), claiming that it was "misinterpreted." In fact, it is obvious that it was entirely correctly interpreted, and the insistence on blaming the people who discovered this particular misdeed rather than sucking it up and apologizing makes it even more obvious that this is no mistake. If it were, they would take the blame for it.

Quite honestly, even if their explanation were true -- "We asked the IRS to draft something, and we inserted it into the bill no questions asked, so who knew?" -- I don't find that very reassuring.

They put a measure in a bill that would have allowed two members of Congress, and anyone they designated, to look at anyone's tax return they chose, regardless of the purpose and without regard for existing privacy laws. Given that, they're stuck with either bad faith or crushing neglect of their responsibilities. There is no other option. Those are the only choices. Incompetence or malice, it's one or the other. They are essentially arguing utter incompetence, but I'm not buying it.

The sad fact of the matter is that these people, those whom we have entrusted to act only in the best interest of our nation, those who have the ultimate power to move a simple bill along the road to ultimate law, those who make a damn good amount of money doing what they do DON’T READ MOST OF WHAT IS GIVEN TO THEM. They sign and pass, sign and pass… all day long. And this is the result.

And don’t try to tell me that it was an ‘honest mistake’ something like this got that far along in the procedure. I’m not screaming conspiracy or anything like that – it’s just obvious that someone somewhere did one of two things:

1. They slipped this clause in just to see if they would catch it, as if to test them, or;
2. They slipped this clause in there in an attempt to take advantage of the fact that they probably wouldn’t catch it.

Now, even if it had passed, there is still the possibility that it would have gone unnoticed when The Cowboy went to sign it. After all, it’s been scanned by so many pairs of eyes before reaching his desk, surely it’s good to go, right?

My only fear is how much crap is NOT being caught? Who’s to benefit from them and who’s going to suffer? It’s thoughts like this that make it hard for me to give my trust to a large governmental bureaucracy.

I’m just glad someone was on the ball for this one.

Peace.


Sponsors


As a lawyer/blogger, I get
to be a member of:

In Vino Veritas

Chloe, Pinot Grigio, Valdadige 2013
Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Gamay Noir 2013
Kirkland, Pinot Grigio, Friuli 2013
St. Francis, Red Splash 2011
Rodney Strong, Canernet, Alexander Valley 2011
Erath, Pinot Blanc 2013
Taylor Fladgate, Porto 2007
Portuga, Rose 2013
Domaine Digioia-Royer, Chambolle-Musigny, Vielles Vignes Les Premieres 2008
Locations, F Red Blend
El Perro Verde, Rueda 2013
Chateau Ste. Michelle, Indian Wells Red 2
If You See Kay, Red 2011
Turnbull, Old Bull Red 2010
Cherry Tart, Cherry Pie Pinot Noir 2012
Trader Joe's Grand Reserve Cabernet, Oakville 2012
Benton Lane, Pinot Gris 2012
Campo Viejo, Rioja, Reserva 2008
Haden Fig, Pinot Noir 2012
Pendulum Red 2011
Vina Real, Plata, Crianza Rioja 2009
Edmunds St. John, Bone/Jolly, Gamay Noir Rose 2013
Bookwalter, Subplot No. 26
Ayna, Tempranillo 2011
Pete's Mountain, Pinot Noir, Haley's Block 2010
Apaltagua, Reserva Camenere 2012
Lugana, San Benedetto 2012
Argyle Brut 2007
Wildewood Pinot Gris 2012
Anciano, Tempranillo Reserva 2007
Santa Rita, Reserva Cabernet 2009
Casone, Toscana 2008
Fonseca Porto, Bin No. 27
Louis Jadot, Pouilly-Fuissé 2011
Trader Joe's, Grower's Reserve Pinot Noir 2012
Zenato, Lugana San Benedetto 2012
Vintjs, Cabernet 2010
14 Hands, Hot to Trot White 2012
Rainstorm, Oregon Pinot Gris 2012
Silver Palm, North Coast Cabernet 2011
Andrew Rich, Gewurtztraminer 2008
Rodney Strong, Charlotte's Home Sauvignon Blanc 2012
Canoe Ridge, Pinot Gris, Expedition 2012
Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Gamay Noir Rose 2012
Dark Horse, Big Red Blend No. 01A
Elk Cove, Pinot Noir Rose 2012
Fletcher, Shiraz 2010
Picollo, Gavi 2011
Domaine Eugene Carrel, Jongieux 2012
Eyrie, Pinot Blanc 2010
Atticus, Pinot Noir 2010
Walter Scott, Pinot Noir, Holstein 2011
Shingleback, Cabernet, Davey Estate 2010
Coppola, Sofia Rose 2012
Joel Gott, 851 Cabernet 2010
Pol Roget Reserve Sparkling Wine
Mount Eden Chardonnay, Santa Cruz Mountains 2009
Rombauer Chardonnay, Napa Valley 2011
Beringer, Chardonnay, Napa Reserve 2011
Kim Crawford, Sauvignon Blanc 2011
Schloss Vollrads, Spaetlese Rheingau 2010
Belle Glos, Pinot Noir, Clark & Telephone 2010
WillaKenzie, Pinot Noir, Estate Cuvee 2010
Blackbird Vineyards, Arise, Red 2010
Chauteau de Beaucastel, Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2005
Northstar, Merlot 2008
Feather, Cabernet 2007
Silver Oak, Cabernet, Alexander Valley 2002
Silver Oak, Cabernet, Napa Valley 2002
Trader Joe's, Chardonnay, Grower's Reserve 2012
Silver Palm, Cabernet, North Coast 2010
Shingleback, Cabernet, Davey Estate 2010
E. Guigal, Cotes du Rhone 2009
Santa Margherita, Pinot Grigio 2011
Alamos, Cabernet 2011
Cousino Macul, Cabernet, Anitguas Reservas 2009
Dreaming Tree Cabernet 2010
1967, Toscana 2009
Charamba, Douro 2008
Horse Heaven Hills, Cabernet 2010
Lorelle, Horse Heaven Hills Pinot Grigio 2011
Avignonesi, Montepulciano 2004
Lorelle, Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2011
Villa Antinori, Toscana 2007
Mercedes Eguren, Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
Lorelle, Columbia Valley Cabernet 2011
Purple Moon, Merlot 2011
Purple Moon, Chardonnnay 2011
Horse Heaven Hills, Cabernet 2010
Lorelle, Horse Heaven Hills Pinot Grigio 2011
Avignonesi, Montepulciano 2004
Lorelle, Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2011
Villa Antinori, Toscana 2007
Mercedes Eguren, Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
Lorelle, Columbia Valley Cabernet 2011
Purple Moon, Merlot 2011
Purple Moon, Chardonnnay 2011
Abacela, Vintner's Blend No. 12
Opula Red Blend 2010
Liberte, Pinot Noir 2010
Chateau Ste. Michelle, Indian Wells Red Blend 2010
Woodbridge, Chardonnay 2011
King Estate, Pinot Noir 2011
Famille Perrin, Cotes du Rhone Villages 2010
Columbia Crest, Les Chevaux Red 2010
14 Hands, Hot to Trot White Blend

The Occasional Book

William Golding - Lord of the Flies
Saul Bellow - Mister Sammler's Planet
Phil Stanford - White House Call Girl
John Kaplan & Jon R. Waltz - The Trial of Jack Ruby
Kent Haruf - Eventide
David Halberstam - Summer of '49
Norman Mailer - The Naked and the Dead
Maria DermoČ—t - The Ten Thousand Things
William Faulkner - As I Lay Dying
Markus Zusak - The Book Thief
Christopher Buckley - Thank You for Smoking
William Shakespeare - Othello
Joseph Conrad - Heart of Darkness
Bill Bryson - A Short History of Nearly Everything
Cheryl Strayed - Tiny Beautiful Things
Sara Varon - Bake Sale
Stephen King - 11/22/63
Paul Goldstein - Errors and Omissions
Mark Twain - A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
Steve Martin - Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life
Beverly Cleary - A Girl from Yamhill, a Memoir
Kent Haruf - Plainsong
Hope Larson - A Wrinkle in Time, the Graphic Novel
Rudyard Kipling - Kim
Peter Ames Carlin - Bruce
Fran Cannon Slayton - When the Whistle Blows
Neil Young - Waging Heavy Peace
Mark Bego - Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul (2012 ed.)
Jenny Lawson - Let's Pretend This Never Happened
J.D. Salinger - Franny and Zooey
Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol
Timothy Egan - The Big Burn
Deborah Eisenberg - Transactions in a Foreign Currency
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - Slaughterhouse Five
Kathryn Lance - Pandora's Genes
Cheryl Strayed - Wild
Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov
Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
Jack Walker - The Extraordinary Rendition of Vincent Dellamaria
Colum McCann - Let the Great World Spin
Niccolò Machiavelli - The Prince
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus - The Nanny Diaries
Brian Selznick - The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Sharon Creech - Walk Two Moons
Keith Richards - Life
F. Sionil Jose - Dusk
Natalie Babbitt - Tuck Everlasting
Justin Halpern - S#*t My Dad Says
Mark Herrmann - The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
Barry Glassner - The Gospel of Food
Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
Jesse Katz - The Opposite Field
Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
David Sedaris - Holidays on Ice
Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Mitch Albom - Have a Little Faith
C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 382
At this date last year: 241
Total run in 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269


Clicky Web Analytics