Now THIS Is An Unethical IRS Employee…Howard Stern Too, But We Knew HE Was Unethical

[There is supposed to be a photo of Howard Stern here, but WordPress keeps refusing to embed it, thus showing the software’s admirable good taste.]

In May of 2015, Judith Barrigas of Sandwich, Massachusetts called the IRS service center  with a question about her tax refund. She reached IRS agent Jimmy Forsythe, who was goofing off on the job, on hold after a call to Howard Stern’s radio show on satellite radio. Forsythe, still on hold (or so he thought) took the taxpayer’s call, and when the Stern show took reconnected, Stern’s listeners somehow heard Forsythe’s conversation with Barrigas.  Stern and paid sycophant Robin Quivers then joked about the call, which concerned Barrigas’s payment plan: the IRS had applied Barrigas’s tax refund to pay her outstanding debts from 2011 and 2012, even though she complained she already had a repayment plan set up with the  IRS. Her call, which she assumed was private, should have assumed was private and was guranteed by federal law to BE private, was on the airwaves for nearly an hour.

“I’m learning so much,” said Stern at the time, before he finally cut off the surreptitious eavesdropping. “I feel like I’m in math class and I’m flunking because I don’t know one thing he’s saying. I think I’m going to bail on this guy. By the way, this is the most boring job ever. I’d rather live in my parent’s basement if I had to do that. I’d give out all the wrong information. All right, dude, later!”

Barrigas  has just sued  the IRS, the Howard Stern Production Company, and Stern individually for violations of the Federal Tort Claims Act,  unlawful disclosure of tax returns and personal information, and just the for the Stern side,  negligence, invasion of privacy, and the intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Ethics Observations:

1. Stern is scum, everyone who works for him is scum, and anyone who listens to him, appears as a guest on his program or celebrates him or promotes him in any way is enabling scummy conduct. Listening to him is also prima facie evidence of dying or dead ethics alarms. Anyone who stayed on the channel to listen in as a fellow citizen’s privacy was violated has never heard of the Golden Rule, much less understand it.

2. Just like Stern. This fiasco is primarily his responsibility, and nicely supports my opinion of the man, which was fully formed decades ago, the first time I had the misfortune to hear him. He didn’t care that a woman was having her personal finances exposed to te world. He didn’t care that by doing this, he was almost certainly ensuring that a fan (Forsythe) would be fired. All that matters to this sociopath is that his sniggering, adolescent (in body or mind) audience got their jollies, and that he could do his usual smug superiority act, when the man isn’t ethically superior to a hissing cockroach.

3. Forsythe, meanwhile, deserves everything he gets, which I hope is pink slip. He was 1) fooling around with a radio show when he was supposed to be working; 2) the show was Howard Stern, nor NPR, proving that he has the judgment of a mollusk, and shouldn’t be trusted with anything requiring more acumen than emptying wastebaskets; 3) he’s a technological boob, who somehow managed to get his phone lines crossed… 4) and to get his employers embarrassed and sued.

Sure, this is moral luck, but it’s not entirely bad luck. If you lie down with shock jocks like Stern, you should know that you risk waking  up with metaphorical fleas.


Pointer: Tax Prof Blog

Source: Accounting Today

13 thoughts on “Now THIS Is An Unethical IRS Employee…Howard Stern Too, But We Knew HE Was Unethical

  1. You will have to admit metaphorical fleas are better, taken on the whole, than metaphysical fleas (which is how I first read the line!). I thought, Wow, these folks are really advancing in understanding … ;-P

  2. I have no greater expectations of the IRS than this, given their behavior no matter the POTUS in office.

    My step father worked for them for 30 years, and even his ethics were warped and tested when on the job, to judge by some of the stories. He was generally an ethical person after retirement (when I met him) but may have come to that when he left the swamp in DC. My speculation.

    The IRS does not play fair, they do not care about the US Taxpayer (their clients), and they run rogue when it fits them, thumbing their noses at Congress and the President (when they are not actively breaking the law at the Administration behest, that is)

  3. 1. Stern should live in his mother’s basement, and probably wants to do so. Unfortunately she won’t have him.

    2. I have never talked to the IRS in my life. If a question comes up, my accountant does the talking/writing. I have given him legal leave to do so, and I count on it. My accountant knows they’re scum, but also knows the IRS regs, and they can’t F*** with him.

  4. I sincere hope that Barrigas gets a huge settlement from Howard Stern and his Production company. I’m don’t know if Stern could be charged criminally, but he better get lawyered up because it just might happen. As far as the IRS lunkhead, maybe he could be reassigned to sweeping the floors and cleaning the john at the IRS office he works at.

    • IRS employee should be relocated to a small rural town in fly-over America. Make him rub elbows with those he abuses.

      Yes, I am making assumptions about this guy. Given my experiences, my research, and ‘insider’ (retired) sources into this Agency, an ethical person could not work there. Heck, if you do not buy into Liberal Big Gov, you will get chased out.

  5. I find it remarkable, that Stern had so much self-awareness as to realize he had nothing important to say on his show that had more value than whatever was discussed during a routine call to the IRS.

  6. Meanwhile, Lois Lerner, who deliberately targeted President Obama’s political opponents, retired with a six-figure pension.

    Go figure.

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