Internal Revenue Service

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Group.png Internal Revenue Service Sourcewatch WebsiteRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Parent organizationUS/Department/The Treasury
The US government agency responsible for collecting taxes and the administration of the Internal Revenue Code.


The Internal Revenue Service occupied floor 6 of World Trade Center 7 which was destroyed in the September 11 attacks.[1]

Money Seizures

The Internal Revenue Service claims the power to confiscate money from people without charging them with a crime, leaving them with the responsibility of proving themselves innocent.[2]

Franklin Roosevelt

The Franklin Roosevelt Administration's used the IRS to attack tycoon Andrew Mellon. No historian has been able to determine why Mellon so enraged F.D.R., but there is speculation that the New Deal President saw the millionaire who was Republican Treasury Secretary from 1921 to 1932 - a time of Wall Street excesses followed by the Great Depression - as the symbolic enemy. (Another possibility is a connection to The Business Plot). Nor has a document emerged that directly links Roosevelt to the decision to go after Mellon.

Elmer L. Irey, head of the criminal division of the Treasury's tax enforcement branch in Washington from 1919 to 1946, acknowledged in his 1948 autobiography that Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau Jr. ordered him to develop tax charges against Mellon even though he, Irey, knew that the former Treasury Secretary was innocent.[3].

A Justice Department memo written about the case in early 1934 shared Irey's sentiment: the charges against Mellon were either invalid or could not be proved. Nonetheless, on March 11, 1934, the Roosevelt Administration announced it would seek criminal tax-evasion charges against Mellon.

Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson

In July 1942, President Roosevelt himself, using his influence over the tax agency, came to the aid of a favored member of the Democratic Party. The tax agency began a routine examination of the books of Brown & Root, a Texas defense contractor which had given campaign donations to Lyndon Baines Johnson, then an ambitious young Texas Congressman. During the next 18 months, Johnson and his allies made repeated efforts to persuade the White House to order the I.R.S. to drop the inquiry, and succeeded[4].


Full article: Rated 5/5 COINTELPRO

Since World War 2, the IRS has been used extensively to harass dissident leaders and organizations. During the 1960s, the IRS cooperated with the FBI to gather information on targeted groups and single them out for harassment from the IRS[5].

President John F. Kennedy hinted at the method in 1961, when he said "As long as they meet the requirements of the tax law, I don't think that the Federal Government can interfere or should interfere with the right of any individual to take any position he wants. The only thing we should be concerned about is that it does not represent a diversion of funds which might be taxable to - for nontaxable purposes. But that is another question, and I am sure the Internal Revenue system examines that."[6]

During the Johnson and Nixon Administrations, the focus of the I.R.S.'s effort at political control was individuals and organizations demonstrating for civil rights and against the American presence in Vietnam, as well as other dissidents.

On June 16, 1969, Randolph W. Thrower, I.R.S. Commissioner during the Nixon Administration, wrote a memorandum for the record about a meeting he had had that day with Arthur F. Burns, then counselor to the President. According to Thrower, Burns said that Richard M. Nixon was concerned over the fact that tax-exempt funds may be supporting activist groups engaged in stimulating riots both on the campus and within our inner cities.

In late July 1969, Donald Bacon, assistant commissioner for compliance, sent the other I.R.S. assistant commissioners and the agency's chief counsel a confidential statement about the formation of a group to coordinate all I.R.S. monitoring of ideological, militant, subversive, radical and similar type organizations. This unit was soon officially named the Special Service Staff (S.S.S.).

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