Reprinted from www.libertylobby.org, home of The SPOTLIGHT archive
IRS Fights Court Order to Pay Victim
While the Senate finance Committee was hearing a throng of taxpayers describe Internal Revenue Service (IRS) atrocities during hearings September 22-25, another victim was sitting in the audience who could also tell a horror story and how to fix it.
Carole Ward of Albuquerque, New Mexico, was so abused by IRS storm troopers that U.S. district Judge William Downs awarded her $250,000 in punitive damages plus $75,000 in actual damages and legal fees.
Lawmakers refused to let Mrs. Ward testify at the hearings.
She has never collected and perhaps never will because of IRS Stonewalling.
The IRS can easily file endless notions and appeals -- the taxpayers pay all the costs. So, any time an individual taxpayer prevails - whether the case is huge or petty -- the IRS spends years in courts stalling.
The frivolous appeals and motions are costly to the taxpayer, so the IRS spends years draining him financially or, perhaps, waiting for his premature death.
Congress could fix that, Mrs "Ward told The SPOTLIGHT, With simple straightforward legislation: Require the IRS to pay up immediately when the taxpayer prevails in district court. Then, let the IRS appeal.
Congress could also require an independent Justice Department lawyer to decide if an appeal is frivolous and, if so, reject further action. This would clear up many court backlogs.
Mrs. Ward's problems began when agent Paula Dzierzanowski's feelings were hurt on being told:
"Honey, from what I can see of your accounting skills, the country would be better served if you were dishing up chicken-fried steak on some interstate in West Texas, with all the chunky jewelry and big hair."
Mrs. Ward's comments to the IRS agent, events demonstrate, were generous.
The incident occurred in 1993, when Mrs. Ward had a meeting with the IRS over the returns of her son, 18. She had never had a problem with the IES herself.
Three weeks later, IRS agents shut down her three small children's clothing stores and posted notices suggesting Mrs. Ward was engaged in illicit drug trading. She agreed to pay the $3,500 "claim" newly discovered by the IRS.
IRS district director Gerald Swanson and aide Patricia Callahan went on a radio talk show and said Mrs. Ward still owed back taxes, although they knew she had apid the claim a week earlier.
An IRS agent wrote a letter to the editor of a newspaper calling Mrs. Ward a "deadbeat freeloader" without revealing his IRS affiliation.
Down was unsympathetic to Miss Dziezanowski's hurt feelings.
"Public servants cannot be arbitrarily selective in their treatment of citizens, dispensing equity to those who please them and withholding it from those who do not," he wrote.
The punitive damages, the judge said, were to put the IRS on notice "that reprehensible abuse of authority by one of its employees cannot and will not be tolerated."
But "justice delayed is justice denied."