Thomas Sheehy, a tax examiner at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), was caught on camera expressing support for the idea of the IRS targeting conservative groups.
Sheehy, a member of the Austin chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), also talked about enjoying the lavish benefits afforded at his job, which allow him to stay up late and call in sick the next day.
Undercover reporters with Project Veritas secretly recorded several DSA members who also work for the government, which prompted probes at several federal agencies. One of the workers has since left her job and another was removed from his duties.
Sheehy was recorded talking about the 2013 scandal when the IRS admitted it submitted dozens of nonprofits to increased scrutiny based on their political affiliations. Most of the targeted groups were conservative, often associated with the Tea Party movement.
Sheehy said former IRS Commissioner John Koskinen “got a lot of flak for giving increased scrutiny to these Tea Party groups.”
“Conservatives got really mad at him,” he said. “He was so cool though because he deleted all the emails so they couldn’t hold any evidence against him.”
The IRS targeting happened, based on official accounts (pdf), mostly under IRS Commissioners Douglas Shulman and Steven Miller between 2009 and 2013.
Koskinen was supposed to clean up after the scandal, but it was under his watch that backup tapes containing emails pertinent to the scandal were deleted. The emails were under a preservation order and a subpoena from Congress. Koskinen denied knowledge of the deletion.
While the scandal ripped into IRS’s credibility, Sheehy approved of targeting conservatives.
“You should give increased scrutiny to those groups because a lot of them are just [expletive] fronts for, like, Koch brothers,” he said.
Charles and David Koch are known for using their family fortune to sponsor Republican candidates and many right-leaning nonprofits.
Sheehy suggested, however, he can’t target conservatives himself.
“Unfortunately, I’m not allowed by the bylaws in my union to go against the constitution,” he said, later adding, “They prevent us from doing anything interesting.”
Sheehy wasn’t particularly thrilled about his job, with one exception.
“I just really like the benefits. I get a lot of paid time off and sick days. So like, for DSA stuff, I can honestly just like… I would stay up real late for a period. So I’ll just call in for the next day,” he said.
Calling in sick, he suggested, isn’t a problem if one knows how to go about it.
“I mean, as long as like the manager doesn’t find out and you don’t explicitly say, ‘hey, I’m calling in sick to do Democratic Socialists of America work,’” he said.
Sheehy, the IRS, and the Austin DSA didn’t respond to requests for a comment.
Deep State Series
Starting on Sept. 18, Project Veritas released four videos as part of its Deep State Unmasked series, which focuses on ideological bias and misconduct among federal employees.
All of the featured government workers were also members of DSA. One of them, Allison Hrabar, left her job at the Justice Department after she was caught talking about resisting the Trump administration from within and described what may have been an illegal use of government resources.
Natarajan Subramanian, an auditor for the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), was removed from GAO work and cut off from GAO equipment after he was caught saying he regularly used his work hours for DSA.
James O’Keefe, founder of Project Veritas, suggested at least one additional federal agency will be featured in a video or videos yet to come.
“Stay tuned to see which Government Agency we unmask next,” he said in a Sept. 25 release.