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IRS Suspends Some Managers as It Probes Misconduct Charges

September 29, 1997|ALBERT B. CRENSHAW | THE WASHINGTON POST

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service, apparently making good on promises last week to the Senate Finance Committee, has suspended a number of mid-level managers while it investigates allegations that field agents were rated on the number of seizures, levies and liens they imposed on taxpayers.

The developments followed three days of explosive hearings last week in which several taxpayers detailed how they were pursued by the agency for taxes they did not owe or had paid or tried to pay. At the close of the hearings Thursday, acting IRS Commissioner Michael P. Dolan promised prompt action on any allegations the panel had received.

The IRS would not comment Sunday on the suspensions, first reported by Newsweek magazine, but a spokesman noted that Dolan had promised the Finance Committee prompt action and that "in some cases it may be appropriate to suspend the employee pending the outcome of the investigation."

Newsweek also reported that it had obtained a copy of an internal IRS memo from the agency's Arkansas-Oklahoma collections office that gave details of how agency managers use collections data to evaluate workers, an apparent violation of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights.

House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas) on Sunday promised legislation by year's end to restructure the IRS.

Speaking on "Fox News Sunday," Armey said the bill would probably be based on recommendations of the National Commission on Restructuring the Internal Revenue Service, a congressionally appointed panel that spent more than a year studying the IRS.

The group has recommended revamped oversight of the agency by Congress. It also has recommended a governance system that would include private-sector experts and others who would be "accountable to the president and the American people."

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