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Opinion: Morning Examiner

IRS' office spending splurge includes $1,200 chairs

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Mark Tapscott,Morning Examiner,Taxes,Treasury,IRS,Waste and Fraud,Jack Lew,Spending,Lois Lerner

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew told Congress recently that the IRS must have an additional $1.2 billion to spend this year, due mainly to the tax agency's increased responsibilities under Obamacare.

What Lew didn't tell Congress about, however, was the millions of dollars the IRS is spending on office furniture and remodeling.

According to the Washington Free Beacon, total spending by the IRS to buy chairs and repaint offices from 2010 to the present is $96.5 million, more than the agency spent on those items during all eight years of George W. Bush's presidency.

Harassment requires desks

The IRS, of course, is the focus of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform's investigation of illegal harassment of conservative nonprofit applicants.

Lois Lerner, the former IRS executive who appears to have managed the harassment campaign, was voted in contempt of Congress recently by the House of Representatives.

More than 200 conservative and Tea Party groups seeking tax-exempt nonprofit status were subjected to the harassment that consisted of endless delays, intrusive questioning and burdensome document production.

Started with Obama

The office furniture spending explosion at the IRS started right after President Obama took office, according to Mary Lou Byrd, a freelancer working for the WFB.

"The first fiscal year budget for which President Obama was responsible was FY 2010 and it was a banner year — when the agency spent the most on new furniture. Records show $44.4 million was spent that year.

"The Free Beacon found in a total of 3,777 contracts the IRS has purchased various types of furniture. The contracts include new chairs, showcases, partitions and shelving, and wood furniture."

Okay, so what?

A "mere" $96.5 million is barely a ripple in a $12.48 billion annual budget. And considering the important work the agency does, why begrudge its officials comfortable chairs that cost in excess of $1,200 each?

Perhaps this statement from Lew will make it all clear:

“The IRS continues its commitment to carrying out its responsibilities, providing quality service to taxpayers and preserving the public’s faith in our tax system, but the lack of sufficient funding in recent years has made it difficult to provide the kind of services American taxpayers deserve.”

On today's washingtonexaminer.com

Editorial: Why more new homes are being built in Houston than in all of California.

Watchdog/Mark Flatten: Whistleblower says Veterans Affairs cost-cutting delayed or denied life-saving cancer tests.

Columnist/Gene Healy: It should be easier to remove bad presidents from office.

Columnist/Cal Thomas: Pope Francis won't solve poverty with income redistribution.

Columnist/Byron York: Dems mistake 8 million sign-ups as happiness with Obamacare.

Beltway Confidential/Ashe Schow: Things you can be killed for in Sudan, like leaving the Islamic religion that you never practiced.

PennAve/Joseph Lawler: Sen. Rand Paul threatens to hold Federal Reserve nominees until his Fed audit gets a vote.

Legal Newsline/David Yates: Scott Brown campaign releases video on his military service.

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ABC News: U.S. flying aircraft over Nigeria in hunt for abducted girls.

CNN: NASA plans to land people on asteroids.

Righty Playbook

The American Spectator: The Senate's bipartisan Ukraine mistake.

The Daily Caller: Meet the anti-Christian Hollywood Left.

American Thinker: Dems' message for women -- conform or be caricatured.

Bonus must-read

The Federalist: What Subway teaches us about the minimum wage.

Lefty Playbook

Salon: How I learned to stop hating sports.

The American Prospect: The unbearable whiteness of liberal media.

The Washington Monthly: The origin of Benghazi fever.

Bonus must-read

Mother Jones: Diesel dope, monster trucks and snotty dispensary clerks.

Blog Right

Patterico's Pontifications: Now climate change caused Nigeria's Boko Haram.

Wizbang: This is why Benghazi matters.

Yid With Lid: The massive media snow job on Antarctic ice melt.

Blog Left

Talking Points Memo: Glenn Greenwald's harsh words for Tim Russert.

The Raw Story: Massive worldwide water crisis lies on the horizon.

Pandagon: Why some women have more than one abortion.

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