Continued from Part 2.

Oscar: In 2005 the IRS just went nuts.  Amongst other things, each information request form is required to have a currently valid number assigned by the Office of Management and Budget, known as OMB.    The IRS plastered over 200 forms with a single number.  Our research shows that the neither the IRS nor the OMB is making a college try to comply with the congressional mandates of the PRA.

Soldier: Is that just your opinion?  Sometimes it’s helpful get the perceptions and insights of other people.

Oscar: Actually, there is a body called the US Government Accountability Office, (GAO)  which has the job of assessing and reviewing the government’s information collection function.  The IRS is just one of many agencies whose activities are reviewed.    GAO prepared a report, published May of 2005, which concluded that the IRS routinely violated the PRA. Among other violations, GAO found that the IRS  routinely violated the PRA by refusing to cite the law that required the collection of information.

The IRS explained that it would have to increase its estimate of time required for compliance, to allow for the time necessary to read the cited laws, and further said that it would sometimes be impractical to disclose such laws.

GAO responded by saying that the law required such disclosures, and further said “Until the IRS corrects this language on its forms, respondents may not know what law is associated with the information requested.”  GAO recommended that the IRS as well as OMB and other agencies take steps to ensure that such violations cease.

Soldier:
Aha.  It sounds like the Executive Branch of government is trying to call balls and strikes against another part of the Executive Branch.   How did that work out?

Oscar: The IRS just thumbed its nose at GAO.   GAO didn’t have an effective enforcement mechanism, and the IRS knew it.

Soldier: We left you with three branches of government, executive, judicial, and legislative, to provide checks and balances.  We also left you with grand and petit juries to provide a check in case that didn’t work.  Did you try any of those?

Oscar: The government evaded the question in US v. Lawrence.   My co-defendant, Lindsey Springer, then began filing lawsuits, trying to get a legally binding answer.  He filed 4 lawsuits, all of which he lost on technicalities.  However, in the last case the 10th Circuit stated unequivocally that they had not issued an opinion on the merits of the PRA claim.  They actually told the Commissioner of the IRS that his argument to the contrary was frivolous.

Soldier: I’m getting the picture.  Nobody wants to call balls and strikes for this game, right?

Oscar: You’re dead on.  Furthermore, in my practice the pattern has become crystal clear.  The dissidents and loudmouths get charged criminally.  They get convicted, and those convictions are used to threaten and silence others with similar ideas.

Soldier:
You still have a powerful weapon.  We fought a massive campaign in the court of public opinion.  We had pamphleteers, fiery orators, and of course the newspapers.  What kind of support are you getting from your news media?

Oscar:
Basically nothing.  Between 80 and 90% of the mainstream media has been bought up by a handful of media conglomerates, and none of them will tell our side of the story.  Newspapers, radio, TV – the government might as well hold legal title to the whole shooting match, for all the good they do.  In fact most of them are propagandists for the government.

Soldier: You’ve had the right to speak, haven’t you?

Oscar: Yes.

Soldier: What have you said?

Oscar: Basically nothing.  I didn’t do any seminars and I wrote practically nothing about my experiences.  I have a website and a blog, but I’m kind of obsessive-compulsive, and I never could get them up to my standards.  I like footnotes or endnotes, separate, organized documents, searchability, and a pleasant layout.  That costs money, and I haven’t gotten that done yet.

……………

To be continued.

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