TUESDAY: Going After the Taxman

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WASHINGTON: Politicians, themselves not the most popular figures in American public life, sometimes have difficulty finding less popular targets suitable for attack. There are drug dealers, Internet porn producers, and recently, the Internal Revenue Service. Now the Senate Finance Committee begins to unveil the findings of a six-month probe, and TIME correspondent Sam Gwynne says the IRS may deserve the public lashing it will receive. The committee will charge that the agency targets lower-and-middle-income people for audits and uses a quota system to rate agents. Some analysts are asking if the service's behavior is the result of Capitol Hill's own confusing and capricious tax laws but as Gwynne explains, the Congress-made-me-do-it defense won't fly. "The IRS has all kinds of people out there who are out of control," says Gwynne. "This history of harassment and overzealousness has nothing to do with the tax laws, because they are laws that simply govern taxes just because they change a lot and are hard to understand does not give the IRS an excuse to behave badly."