Each year, American taxpayers file paperwork to the Internal Revenue Service declaring earnings, expenditures and write-offs; they then send the filings off to the tax agency and hope they aren’t subject to an audit. But when no one is watching the watcher, power is abused.
House investigators reveal in a recent report that one businessman’s friendship with an IRS official allowed him to accrue $500 million in taxpayer-funded Federal contracts.
“Today, the IRS cannot look taxpayers in the eye and truthfully say they are protecting their contributions to government,” House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman Darrell Issa said in a statement. “By inappropriately using a personal relationship and abusing a provision designed to help disadvantaged businesses, the IRS and Strong Castle have made a mockery of fair and open competition for government contracts. Taxpayers deserve accountability and the Committee is troubled by this unacceptable behavior.”
Braulio Castillo, owner of Signet Computers, is accused of using his friendship with an IRS contracting official to secure the contracts. He denies any wrongdoing.
However, in a letter to Treasury officials, Issa said of the relationship between Castillo and the IRS employee: “At best, this is a conflict of interest that runs afoul of Part 3 of the Federal Acquisition Regulation. At worst, the IRS may have a situation in which a contracting official is awarding sole source contracts based on false justifications, or receiving kickbacks in exchange for government contracts.”