The IRS Mismanagement of Public Relations Crisis

irs public relations

While the American government has a master of public relations President Obama at its helm, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has handled its PR crisis in a terrible manner this week when it came to handling the media.

With the news from the Internal Revenue Service  that conservative organizations were unfairly targeted and audited during the election the media naturally has taken interest in the story – and a golden rule when in the midst of crisis is to communicate clearly and consistently. In addition to the unfair treatment, the media hoopla is thus far being handled in a manner which will ensure continued examination of the issue.

  1. To wit, in the midst of a conference call with reporters, a senior Internal Revenue Service official said “I’m not good at math.”  That’s an entirely inappropriate comment for an IRS official to make. 
  2. They have said that there wasn’t political bias in the audits – but haven’t named any non right-wing organizations which were targeted. So then how can it not be political – and how can a government agency not expect politicians to protect their constituencies when it appears the truth is still being sheltered from them?
  3. While it has been claimed that junior-level employees took these actions on their own, the IRS in their conference call with reporters wouldn’t say if anyone was disciplined – and their lack of clarity only leaves more questions.  

One cannot be surprised that Republican Senator Mitch McConnell said “This kind of political thuggery has absolutely no place in our politics” as he called for a government investigation.  And Democratic Senator Mark Begich said “It’s completely inappropriate for the IRS or any other federal agency to single out certain organizations based upon their politics.”

In the midst of this crisis, without clarity, no one will be able to move forth until clearer communications about the depth of the problem is answered.  Now lets hope that I, Ronn Torossian and my agency 5WPR doesn’t  get audited.

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