NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

The Collected Follies Of Washington

September 5, 2000

James Bovard's new book, "Feeling Your Pain," is about the damage done to society and individuals by government policies -- and the heavy-handed enforcement tactics of officials.

For instance, says Bovard, the Internal Revenue Service has maliciously prosecuted wrongly accused citizens. Take the case of James Montgomery of Oregon. Twenty-one IRS agents raided Montgomery's home and realty office based on the accusations of a former employee who had been caught manufacturing methamphetamines. During the ensuing four-year legal battle with the agency, Montgomery lost 100 of his 150 rental properties, even though agents found no evidence of wrongdoing.

Montgomery is most likely a victim of the Clinton administration's fivefold increase in rewards for tax informants, says Bovard.

  • In 1996 alone, the few stalwart taxpayers who had braved years of delay and legal bills saw the courts dismiss $9 billion of the $13.6 billion the IRS said they owed.
  • That's a more than 66 percent error rate.
  • Since Clinton took office, the IRS has seized more than 12 million bank accounts, imposed liens on more than three million properties and confiscated 100,000 people's houses, cars and property.

Source: Matthew Robinson, "Bookshelf: HUD, the IRS and Other Clinton-Gore Scandals," review of James Bovard, Feeling Your Pain (St. Martin's), Wall Street Journal, August 28, 2000.


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