Democratic Lawmakers Stand Up for IRS Workers

Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., says most IRS workers are good people and have tough jobs. Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., says most IRS workers are good people and have tough jobs. Charles Dharapak/AP

Several Democratic lawmakers expressed sympathy for Internal Revenue Service employees Friday who must now carry the “stigma of corruption” in light of the agency’s recent scandal.

While lawmakers from both sides of the aisle spent most of the time at the Ways and Means Committee hearing probing and criticizing IRS officials, some Democrats took part of their time to praise the agency and its workforce.

Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., acknowledged some IRS workers “screwed up,” but said overall the agency’s employees are good people with tough jobs.

“The IRS is an easy target, and everyone wants to hold a pitchfork when the tax man comes,” McDermott said at the hearing held to investigate IRS’ targeting of conservative organizations for extra scrutiny. “Let’s not forget the IRS has one of the hardest jobs, and there are thousands and thousands of good, solid, hardworking Americans who work every day to run this system.”

Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., expressed concern for the impact this scandal will have on the IRS workforce.

He said Democrats and Republicans are “on the same side in trying to determine how did this happen, who was responsible for it, how far did this cancer go, how quickly can we cut it out, so that tens of thousands of IRS employees have this stigma of corruption taken away from them. So that you, Mr. Miller, as a career employee don’t have to explain to your kids and friends that you were not involved in a scandal.”

He added that clearing the names of the IRS employees “who work hard each and every day” will help the entire government.

“It’s not too late for the government -- it’s too late for the Congress -- but it’s not too late for the government to try to get its reputation cleaned up for America,” Rangel said.

While most representatives continued to bash the agency, Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Calif., echoed Rangel’s sentiment that the IRS must work to restore the faith of the American people in the tax collector’s workforce.

“As much as we know the folks at IRS have a thankless job because they have to go and tell their fellow Americans that they may be audited,” Becerra said, “or they may have to do this work understaffed, we have to maintain confidence in the system.”

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