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.

About Ronn Torossian

Ronn Torossian is the Founder and CEO of 5W Public Relations. He is an experienced leader in the public relations industry with over 20 years of experience. Ronn Torossian has been named as Public Relations executive of the year by the American Business Awards, and has run countless award-winning Public Relations programs.

Ronn Torossian

Ronn Torossian is the founder and Chairman of 5WPR, one of the largest independently-owned PR firms in the United States. With over 25 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America’s most prolific and well-respected Public Relations professionals. Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company’s growth, overseeing more than 275 professionals in the company’s headquarters in midtown Manhattan. With clients spanning corporate, technology, consumer and crisis, in addition to digital marketing and public affairs capabilities, 5WPR is regularly recognized as an industry leader and has been named “PR Agency of the Year” by the American Business Awards on multiple occasions. Throughout his career, Torossian has worked with some of the world’s most visible companies, brands and organizations. His strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, Metropolitan Magazine’s Most Influential New Yorker, a 2020 Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider, and a recipient of Crain’s New York 2021 Most Notable in Marketing & PR. Torossian is known as one of the country’s foremost experts on crisis communications, and is called on to counsel blue chip companies, top business executives and entrepreneurs both in the United States and worldwide. Torossian has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly on CNN & CNBC, is a contributing columnist for Forbes and the New York Observer, and has authored two editions of his book, “For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations,” which is an industry best-seller. A NYC native, Torossian lives in Manhattan with his children. He is a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and active in numerous charities.

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