By Jason Stverak | Franklin Center
Amidst the firestorm of scandals swirling around the Obama administration, the IRS’ coordinated targeting of conservative groups has perhaps been the most frightening. The use of the IRS–arguably one of the most apolitical branches of government–as a strategic political weapon is a betrayal of Americans’ trust in the most basic functions of government.
Through either gross incompetence or political malfeasance, Lois Lerner, the IRS director of tax exempt groups, allowed her department to target groups that didn’t agree with the Obama administration. Among the litany of questions that remain, one of the most glaring is, “Why hasn’t Lois Lerner been fired yet?” The unfortunate answer: it’s nearly impossible to fire a public employee.
Lerner was asked to resign, but refused and it doesn’t seem like she’ll leave the IRS without a fight. Firing Lerner, or any other federal employee, is extraordinarily difficult because public-sector unions have made it nearly impossible to terminate even the most incompetent of employees. Lerner, as supervisory employee at the IRS, is not eligible for union membership, but of course, the overly generous protections for federal employees that unions argue for are generally carried over to people in upper echelons of management.