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FLEOA Calls On Congress

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                CONTACTNikki Cannon

August 14, 2015                                                                                        (202) 293-1550

 

F.L.E.O.A. CALLS ON CONGRESS TO REMOVE THE CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION DIVISION FROM THE IRS ABYSS

 

(Washington, DC) – Today, In response to the latest released emails of former IRS official Lois Lerner, the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association’s (FLEOA) President Jon Adler is issuing the following statement to members of Congress:

While the Lois Lerner IRS email scandal continues to resonate and dilute public confidence in the agency's integrity to administer tax laws fairly, honorable Special Agents in the IRS Criminal Investigation Division (CID) have suffered the collateral damage of "guilt by association." These professional Criminal Investigators fall under the tarnished IRS roof and have endured both a reputation taint and a reduction in funding that has had a crippling effect on their ability to carry out their formidable mission. Enough is enough, and it's time for congressional corrective action that would realign the Criminal Investigation Division within the Treasury Department under direct reporting to the Secretary.

 Special Agents of the Criminal Investigation Division play a pivotal role in terrorist financing investigations, transnational monetary crimes, identity theft, cyber crimes, and other top priority criminal investigations. In fact, to illustrate the critical importance of the CID, a Marine Corps Colonel stationed in Iraq stated in September 2003, "If somebody had told me a year ago we would have to have Treasury CID agents to win a war, I would have told them they were full of crap. But now, I know that we can't win one without them."As the Colonel came to realize, our country and its citizenry will be weakened without the full involvement and support of CID Special Agents in high priority matters. If CID remains under the IRS,this proud law enforcement component will inherit nothing but an unjustifiable demise.

What has been the impact on CID? In December 2014, legislative action resulted in an approximate $345 million reduction in IRS's fiscal 2015 funding. From this amount, approximately $160 million was taken from CID's budget. Their agent staffing numbers are perilously low and reflective of their agent complement from the 1970's. In 2012 and 2013, CID Special Agents initiated over 5,100 criminal investigations. This dropped to 4,297 in 2014, and will continue to decrease. Who loses when we have less law enforcement assets working Narco-Terrorism financing cases?

In a January 16, 2015 memorandum to all United State Attorneys, CID Chief Richard Weber stated, in effect, that due to the drastic funding cuts and agent reduction, CID's ability to support their investigations would be reduced. His letter makes clear that the dedicated Special Agents of CID are committed to doing everything humanly possible to support the U.S. Attorney Office's criminal investigations. However, Chief Weber correctly advises that as agent numbers decrease, "rates of non-compliance will begin to increase as we work fewer criminal investigations."Chief Weber further states, "We much prefer to have a conversation about supporting more of your investigations rather than curtailing them." FLEOA maintains that this matter would be corrected if CID was situated with direct line reporting to the Treasury Secretary. The remarkable results of their critical investigative work wouldn't be lost under the disheartening dark cloud that continues to rain on the IRS; or perhaps more accurately, as IRS rains on itself.

While the Special Agents continue to do great work investigating terrorist financing and transnational money laundering cases,IRS messages to them, in effect,you have to get by with less. Is that the message we want to send to the American public: in terms of your safety, you have to get by with
 
less? CID Special Agents are actively engaged with national task forces such as the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force, the DEA's Strike Force and the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force. Who loses if CID doesn't have sufficient law enforcement assets to support these task
 
forces? Would this even be an issue if CID was under the Treasury Secretary and not the IRS?
 
Because of the Lerner email scandal, CID Special Agents are quietly diminished while being rendered superfluous by a failing IRS. FLEOA is appealing to Congress to take legislative action and move CID out from under the collapsing IRS. The CID should be correctly re-positioned in the
 
same column with the Inspector General, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration and the Special Inspector General Troubled Asset Relief Program. The Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence should be re-positioned under the Criminal Investigation Division. CID is clearly facing extinction under the dismal IRS, and this is a tremendous disservice to our country and our citizenry. The endangered species should be terrorists and not the Special Agents who pursue them.

 

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The Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (www.fleoa.org) is the largest nonprofit, nonpartisan professional association that exclusively represents over 28,000 active and retired federal law enforcement officers from over 65 Agencies.