It’s not surprising at all that the former head of the Internal Revenue Service doesn’t know anything about the Constitution. IRS agents routinely violate the Constitution as part of their jobs.
In their internal documents, they say they can read anyone’s emails or place GPS tracking devices on anyone’s car, and that that’s not a violation of the Constitution. They claim that people’s emails are not protected by the 4th Amendment, because “Internet users do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in such communications.” That’s irrelevant. Snooping around people’s emails and other electronic communications without a warrant is a plain violation of the 4th Amendment.
We know they don’t care what the Constitution says, but maybe it’s also that they don’t know what it says. That’s the impression I got when I listened to former IRS chief Doug Shulman respond to Congressman Kerry Bentivolio, a Republican from Michigan, during their second IRS hearing:
Bentivolio: Did you study the Constitution?
Shulman: I went to law school.
Bentivolio: You went to law school. Did you study the Constitution?
Shulman: I believe I took Constitutional law, but I’m not prepared to take an exam at this time. [chuckles] Meaning I’ll answer any of your question but I can’t promise that I’m an expert.
Bentivolio: Well, you know the First, Second Amendment and one of my favorites, the 19th, right? You know those?
Shulman: Excuse me?
Bentivolio: You know those amendments. The Constitutional amendments. You know the First, you know the Second, and you know the 19th.
Shulman: I don’t necessarily have the Constitution memorized, sir.
Bentivolio: Okay, well, they’re pretty general in what each one is. Like the First Amendment is the freedom of the press, freedom of religion, and freedom to petition the government for a redress of grievances. First Amendment, right?
Shulman: I really can’t recite the Constitution, sir.
For some reason, Bentivolio brought up the 19th Amendment, women’s suffrage.
He didn’t have time to get to that point, but I think a larger point was made than he intended. How can the IRS be expected to follow the law, when they don’t even know what the most basic laws are? Come on, 1st Amendment, 2nd Amendment? Shulman was acting confused.
It seems the only Amendment they’re familiar with is the 5th, and they don’t even know how to invoke that. If you’re going to use the 5th Amendment like Lois Lerner, you can’t keep opening your mouth and saying things like:
“I have not done anything wrong. I have not broken any laws, I have not violated any IRS rules or regulations, and I have not provided false information to this or any other congressional committee.”
It’s self-evident that the IRS needs more than additional ethics training. They need training in and respect for the Constitution. Of course, if they had either of those, they’d see that their own agency is unconstitutional.