The IRS and Leadership (Update)

By | April 10, 2014

[April 10, 2014]  Today we are being told that former IRS official Ms Lois Lerner was held in contempt of Congress for refusing to answer questions about the targeting of “conservative groups” by the IRS1Interestingly, we are starting to see more political leaders coming forth asking the IRS to be transparent about what happened. 

I argued a few weeks ago, that the IRS senior leadership should be actively engaging in what is now being described as one of the biggest scandals in U.S. history (see link). 

Earlier in this blog, I wrote “If the accusations are not true, the IRS senior leadership should be actively countering this argument with facts to show that the IRS maintains proper accountability and trustworthiness.  If true, then the leadership should be out front of the press in cleaning up the organization and advertising their progress.  This would mean to admit that a culture of political corruption and cronyism exists and that something legitimate is being done.” 

Obviously, neither of these is being accomplished.  To make the situation worse, a senior elected House member is currently being accused of colluding with the IRS on this very targeting.  Plus, the Department of Justice leadership is saying nothing is wrong here.  The House Oversight Committee (the one investigating the IRS role), has provided at least sufficient evidence to make a reasonable person believe that there should be a non-partisan investigation.  This role would go to the DOJ, but their leadership has refused and has even added to the unprofessional bitter rhetoric2. 

So, what we have are two government agencies, the IRS and DOJ, which are not following the basic leadership principle of being upfront with their constituents, the American public.  This is how one quickly loses credibility and encourages accusations of partisanship, corruption, and scandal.  And, that is exactly what is happening. 

We can only hope the senior leaders of both the IRS and DOJ change their minds on their current approach; it is certainly a failing strategy.  Despite operating in a hyper-critical political environment, it does not change basic leadership principles which, by following them, will do them a lot of good … oh, and it’s the right thing to do. 

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Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article every day on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

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