I’m hesitating. But given the way many IRS honchos have too often behaved throughout the agency’s history, including today — yes, I’ll applaud Randolph Thrower for saying no to a President.
Thrower died in March at the age of 100 as the “IRS Chief Who Resisted Nixon.” He had headed the agency from 1969 to 1971, before getting fired for challenging the administration’s political hardball. Nixon henchman John Ehrlichman delivered the pink slip.
White House staffers were pressuring the IRS to audit various activists, journalists and congressmen. These were persons that Nixon felt deserved government harassment.
Too often, IRS officers have been all too eager to politicize tax procedures at the behest of those in power. Not Thrower. He may have been guilty of naïveté. When asking to meet with the President, he said he felt sure that Nixon knew nothing of the pressure coming from underlings and would repudiate “any suggestion of the introduction of political influence into the IRS.”
Thrower’s request for a meeting was denied. The record shows that Nixon soon demanded his removal and also that the next IRS commissioner be a “ruthless [s.o.b.].”
My problem with Randolph Thrower is his failure to say anything publicly about why he was fired. By speaking out, he might have prevented some of the evildoing the White House would perpetrate over the next several years.
He owed that much to his employer: us.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.