The White House, meanwhile, announced that former FBI and CIA director William Webster would review the practices of the IRS’s criminal investigative division. Van Voorst believes that while the agency badly needs reforming, “the IRS is probably as bad as any other government agency, but no worse.” That, of course, is meager consolation for the victims of IRS zeal -- and they’re the ones who’ll have the mike in the days to come.
IRS horror stories were coin of the realm at Tuesday's Senate Finance Committee hearings into the agency. But TIME correspondent Bruce Van Voorst believes Senator William Roth’s hearings are something of a sideshow: “We went through all of this a few weeks ago, and now we’re getting four more days of it. Roth is playing to the gallery,” says Van Voorst. “The problem with the U.S. internal revenue system isn’t the agency; it’s the irreparably complex tax code -- which was created by Congress.”