The House GOP wants to know about the case of the talented Bill Haus.
Democrats and the media are deriding the House GOPs probe into abuses by government agencies. But were glad Republicans are on the case, in particular regarding the Internal Revenue Service.
In a Friday letter to IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel, House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan demands answers about a bizarre and disturbing IRS house call. The letter recounts that on April 25 a Marion, Ohio, taxpayer received a visit from a man who claimed his name was Bill Haus and worked in the IRS criminal division.
Mr. Haus said he needed to talk to her about an estate for which she was the fiduciary. She let him in despite having received no prior IRS communication. Mr. Haus claimed she had not properly filled out estate forms and owed the IRS a substantial amount. Only when the taxpayer presented proof of paying all taxes on the estate did the agent reveal that his visit wasnt about the estate at all. It was about several supposed delinquent tax returns related to the decedent of the estate.
The letter says the taxpayer called her attorney, who insisted Mr. Haus leave the house, only to be told by Mr. Haus: I am an IRS agent, I can be at and go into anyones house at any time I want to be. Mr. Haus finally left, but not before threatening to freeze the taxpayers assets and put a lien on her house if she didnt satisfy the balance in a week. Fearing a scam, she called the local police, who ran Mr. Hauss license plate to verify his identity.
When an officer called Mr. Haus, Mr. Haus identified himself as an IRS agent but said Haus wasnt his real name. He had used an alias. The officer, also suspecting a scam, warned that if he returned to the taxpayers home hed be arrested. Mr. Haus then filed a complaint against the Marion police officer with the Treasury Department inspector general.
The House letter says the taxpayer on May 4 spoke with Mr. Hauss supervisor, who clarified that she owed nothing and saidin the understatement of the yearthat things never should have gotten this far. Yet the following day, the taxpayer received a letteraddressed to the decedentstating that the decedent was delinquent on several 1040 filings. This was the first and only mail notification the taxpayer received. The taxpayer was again told by the supervisor that nothing was owed and was notified on May 30 that the case was closed.
If true, this is something else. An agent of the Treasury, wielding the power of tax enforcement, shows up unannounced at a taxpayers home. He lies about his identity and his purpose to get inside, then threatens the taxpayer with punishment if she doesnt pay a tax bill that she doesnt owe. The IRS agent leaves only after an intervention by her lawyer, and when local police call the agent he sics the Treasury Department on the officer.
Mr. Jordan wants all IRS documents and communication related to this episode, and Mr. Werfel cant be allowed to stonewall. This is the second report of an IRS house call since March, when another T-man visited journalist Matt Taibbi at home on the day he was away testifying to Congress on government abuse.
What the hell is going on over there? What in IRS workplace culture gives agents the belief they can do this? Democrats bestowed $80 billion on the IRS last year to empower people like Bill Haus. Republicans clawed back some of it in the recent debt-ceiling bill, but an IRS that makes threatening house calls deserves to have it all clawed back.