April 16,1999

Roth Infuriated Over Treatment of IRS Agent-Witness Jennifer Long

Calls Written Warning a "Clear Act of Retaliation"; Committee Will Investigate

WASHINGTON -- Senate Finance Committee Chairman William V. Roth, Jr. (R-DE) Friday called the warning notice of a possible termination given to IRS employee Jennifer Long a "clear act of retaliation," for her testimony before the Senate Finance Committee in September 1997, and said that the Senate Finance Committee would immediately begin an investigation.

Long, an IRS revenue agent of 15 years based in Houston, was a witness before the Senate Finance Committee's September 1997 oversight hearings. Long testified about "egregious tactics used by IRS revenue agents which are encouraged by members of the IRS management. These tactics, which appear nowhere in the IRS manual are used to extract unfairly assessed taxes from taxpayers, literally ruining families lives and businesses, all unnecessarily and sometimes illegally."

Prior to her testimony, Ms. Long had received "fully successful" evaluations in her performance ratings. After her testimony, her performance ratings dropped to failing marks. On April 15, she was given a notice warning of a possible termination.

"There is no question in my mind that Jennifer is being retaliated against for her testimony before the Committee. The actions of the IRS management in the Houston office are outrageous," Roth stated. "They are a direct affront to Congress and to the new IRS Commissioner.

"How many taxpayers' calls and questions in Houston went unanswered yesterday -- tax filing day -- because the IRS was busy retaliating against one of its own?

"This is a clear example of how some in the IRS's old management culture are using their power to destroy people, like Jennifer, who are trying to make the IRS a better place. This incident is the clearest evidence yet of how much work lies ahead and how difficult the job will be to turn the culture of this agency around."