Statement of Commissioner Larry Irving

 

It was both an honor and a privilege to serve as a member of this distinguished Commission. I commend the Co-Chairs for their hard work over the last year. The dedication to this process demonstrated by Chairmen Kerrey and Portman served as examples to all of us. I also commend the staff of The National Commission on Restructuring the Internal Revenue Service for their dedication and perseverance during grueling months of work. In addition, I wish to commend and thank my fellow Commissioners from whom I learned much in this process. Our work will make a significant difference in the functioning of the IRS.

It is with deep regret that I decline to sign the Commissionís Report. As noted repeatedly during the Commission's deliberations, the fundamental issue at the heart of the majority's report is governance, and I simply cannot and do not support the majority's recommendations on this issue. Although I share the concerns expressed by others about the constitutionality of the governance provisions, more fundamentally, I believe that governance of the IRS should not reside in a seven person outside Board of Directors. The Board's powers ultimately could extend beyond governance issues to tax policy, law enforcement, and day-to-day management. The line being drawn between oversight and tax policy and management will, in my opinion, be almost impossible to police or maintain, and ultimately will raise serious accountability and jurisdictional questions. After four years of heading a federal government agency, I have experienced the complexities of shared jurisdiction and accountability and the thin line between oversight and management. Based on these experiences, I believe that responsibility for IRS management must continue to reside with an IRS fully accountable to the President and the Congress.

 

Larry Irving