The Buzz

BuzzChatter Thursday: Jenkins questions whether the IRS is on top of fraud

Updated: 2014-02-05T21:42:36Z

By STEVE KRASKE

The Kansas City Star

You don’t digging out? I am.

• “As I noted, these are refundable tax credits which are particularly attractive to those who are wishing to commit fraud. We’re talking about millions of individual tax returns and a pot of nearly $900 billion.” — Kansas Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins, a Topeka Republican, raising concerns about the IRS’ ability to crack down on fraud, particularly involving breaks for poor Americans.

Jenkins questioned the head of the IRS Wednesday on the agency’s work on developing so-called “fraud mitigation systems.” IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said he was confident the IRS was on top of the problem, but that the equipment necessary to deal with the issue would cost the agency $300 million to $400 million. Congress has not provided those dollars, he said, and the result may be cuts to other IRS programs to pay for it.

• “As Pat Roberts is flipping and flopping his way through the most desperate election-year conversion in the history of Kansas, he is open for business on K Street in Washington.” — the first sentence of a media release Wednesday from Milton Wolf. He’s running against three-term Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts in the August GOP primary.

Wolf is pointing at the $1.1 million Roberts has raised from political action committees or, in Wolf’s words, “Washington insiders.” That may sound sinister, but it may not be either. Company employees often pool together money in PACs and then vote on which candidates should get their dollars. It’s a very American way of taking part in politics — and pretty wholesome, too.

• “History makes clear that the debt limit is the only effective, or one of the few effective, lever points for meaningful spending restraint.” — Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, a Republican, making the case that Republicans need to extract something from President Barack Obama and Democrats for approving a higher debt ceiling.

Republicans are struggling over this issue. On the one hand, they don’t want to risk another showdown with the president on an issue that cost them dearly in the polls last year. On the other, as Cruz suggested, the GOP wants something out of the deal. House Speaker John Boehner is polling members in the days ahead to decide on a course.

• “I’m off the grid. I move about with my TV show so that the drones can’t find me and you won’t know exactly where I am.” — former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura, a one-time pro wrestler.

It wasn’t clear if Ventura was joking...or not.

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