Policy: Labor

IRS employees union slammed Tea Party as 'extreme elements' in 2011

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Sean Higgins,Labor unions,Labor,Tea Party,IRS

Over on his own site, Conservative Intel, Washington Examiner columnist David Freddoso points out a telling 2011 press release from the National Treasury Employees Union regarding the Tea Party. That would be the union that represents Internal Revenue Service Employees:

“For months, budget negotiations have stalled in Congress as House Republicans have succumbed to extreme Tea Party elements rather than coming to common sense compromises,” said Colleen M. Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU).

“You have to be from Wonderland to believe that you can make severe cuts in government spending without sending the economy into a tailspin and cutting critical services Americans depend upon. It is time to put aside ideological stances and for Congress to agree on a budget that serves the American people.”

Yet a handful of ideologues and their political supporters gathered today to ignore the obvious negative effects and continue to push for unrealistic cuts that will result in a loss of vital services for all Americans. These cuts will mean things like longer waits for taxpayer refunds, fewer services to veterans, less assistance for people with disabilities, more threats to our clean air and water, weakened border security, significantly fewer food safety inspections, and more.

“House Republican leaders must not kowtow to extreme elements, and instead get serious about the fiscal 2011 budget negotiations,” Kelley said. “We must agree on a common sense budget that provides for our citizens while being honest about the impact of proposed cuts.”

As Freddoso notes:

Now, there’s certainly nothing wrong with a 501 c(5) labor association (i.e., a union) expressing political views like the one below, and it’s understandable that a group representing government employees would rail against the possibility of a government shutdown.

But it is kind of interesting, given what we now know was going on at the IRS at that time — and all the work being done to prevent Tea Partiers from having the same privilege of being able to pool their own money and spend on issue advocacy without having their cash taxed an additional time.

While we are still trying to get to the bottom of what happened in terms of the IRS’s targeting of Tea Party groups — some people just aren’t talking — it is instructive to know that the ostensible voice of the IRS’s workers was seething in anger at Congress for “kowtow(ing) to extreme elements” at about the same time that some of her members were examining those same “elements.”

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