IRS Undercover Operations STILL Lacks Sufficient Oversight - John R. Dundon II, Enrolled Agent
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IRS Undercover Operations STILL Lacks Sufficient Oversight

IRS Undercover Operations STILL Lacks Sufficient Oversight

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration released a report today dated February 3rd 2012 titled Criminal Investigation Can Take Steps to Strengthen Oversight of Its Undercover Operation. This audit was conducted as a follow up to an audit in tax years 2001 and 2002 – 10 YEARS AGO.  So it is fair to presume that the people at the helm had sufficient opportunity to correct mistakes. Because this did not happen satisfactorily I’m disappointed and quite scared. Perhaps a little more transparency is in order.

The report states: “IRS Criminal Investigation (CI) uses undercover operations as an essential technique in the detection and investigation of criminal activity involving tax and money laundering offenses. An undercover operation is a law enforcement technique whereby a special agent, acting under an assumed identity, infiltrates a suspected criminal organization without the knowledge of the perpetrators for the purpose of acquiring evidence of criminal activity. CI has special agents who are trained in undercover techniques and are commonly referred to as undercover agents.”

I’m okay with this provided proper controls are in place. However auditors (were) not authorized access to grand jury case information … limited to reviewing only non-grand jury undercover operations”

Furthermore Corrective Actions to Address Previously Identified (10+ YEARS AGO) Internal Control Weaknesses Were Not Sufficient.”

Specifically the report states “operational reviews and financial reviews were not being timely conducted, and some expenditures that could be considered as questionable were not documented as being pre-approved.”

AND “When confidential expenditures are not properly pre-authorized and reviewed, the risk of misappropriation increases and can result in funds not being available for other authorized Government use. For example, if CI had conducted a timely financial review as required, the $20,000 check that had not been negotiated would have been discovered and would have been timely returned.”

In response the IRS’ Office of Special Investigative Techniques “will modify existing IRM to include a specific starting date for the 90-calendar-day period when operational and financial reviews are first required to be conducted.”

Well I would certainly hope so. I have worked with some really talented IRS Agents and Officers in Examination, Appeals and Collections. These people are a blessing and are under compensated.  However I’ve also worked with some people that have been clearly promoted to the point of professional incompetence, behaving childishly, holding grudges, and even engaging in false representation of the Code.

Fortunately I have not as of yet had the pleasure of working with IRS Criminal Investigation Under Cover Agents. However in projecting my general experiences with Exam, Appeal and Collection personnel onto IRS Criminal Investigation – I get scared, really scared, of those few bad seeds and what they’ve been doing without proper controls for the last 10 years.