The Internal Revenue Service has placed two employees on administrative leave in connection with a 2010 conference in Anaheim, California, which cost millions of taxpayer dollars.
The employees were not identified in a Wednesday statement from IRS Acting Commissioner Danny Werfel, nor were the exact circumstances of their alleged wrongdoing detailed.
The incident involved a party inside a private suite at a hotel in Anaheim, the statement said. Food was allegedly provided free of charge, a violation of standards.
Pending further review, the IRS has started the process of removing the employees.
"When I came to IRS, part of my job was to hold people accountable," Werfel said in the statement. "There was clearly inappropriate behavior involved in this situation, and immediate action is needed."
The move came just one day after an audit of the agency showed the IRS spent millions of taxpayer dollars on everything from event planners' commissions to speakers' fees to guest prizes to parody videos at the 2010 conference.
The beleaguered agency -- already snared in controversy over its targeting of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status -- spent $4.1 million on the conference, with "questionable expenses" comprising much of the budget, according to the report released Tuesday by the Treasury Department's inspector general for tax administration.
The audit notes that a large chunk of that money -- about $3.2 million -- came from unused funds allocated for hiring.
This was in the same year that the IRS began to single out conservative and tea party groups that sought tax-exempt status, in part because the agency said it did not have the personnel to handle the overwhelming amount of applications pouring in that year.
The August 2010 conference, held by the Small Business/Self-Employed division, had 2,600 attendees at three hotels in Anaheim.
Reference: CNN's Dana Bash and Ashley Killough contributed to this report.
Politicians try to win votes with promises of change. Yet all too often nothing really changes or we end up with even bigger problems. However, that doesn't mean great change isn't coming. Your Bible reveals how monumental government change will come about!
As in so many elections, the 2008 U.S. presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain campaigned under the mantra "Change is coming!" They said, like candidates the world over, "The people want change!"
That is usually true. But after making claims that only God could keep, politicians everywhere usually find it difficult to keep their promises when elected. Few succeed in turning those promises into changes that endure the test of time.
Most people don't realize that Jesus Christ was—and remains—the greatest advocate for change. His plan includes changing all human governments, from the richest and most advanced countries to the world's poorest. He proclaimed that total change is coming to human civilization— through a perfect government that He will establish at His second coming.
Did you know that Jesus' message was about government? He called His teaching the gospel, or good news, of the Kingdom of God.
People today often think that the kingdom Jesus proclaimed is one set up in men's hearts—confined to human thoughts and emotions. But that's not what He taught. Rather, He spoke of an actual government to be set up over all nations.
The contrast between Jesus Christ's promises for good government and what human politicians fail to deliver couldn't be greater.
All humanly created political systems fail to meet the truly high standards of Jesus' teachings on government. This includes American democracy, which has remained enmeshed in cross-purposes, political and economic corruption, short-sighted policies that don't work and wars that Americans love to hate.
Human beings pledge to make positive changes they can't deliver—and make promises they cannot keep. Promising peace and prosperity, their leaders give them change through wars, prosperity for some, economic policies that don't work and social changes that in the end often do more harm than good.
In His teaching and prophecies, Jesus Christ announced sweeping changes that will create the perfect government when He returns to rule the world—when "the kingdoms of this world [will] have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ" (Revelation 11:15).
Here are five foundations that will create the perfect civilization—five ways Christ will change government forever!
One of His first acts in establishing a universal government will be to abolish the separation of church and state. It's not hard to understand why, since religious deception and division have always plagued humankind.
The promotion of one universal faith (the true faith) and accompanying religious practice will be the cornerstone of a new and transformed society and government centered in Jerusalem. Christ will impose divine laws for religious observance that will benefit the whole world. Only the true God will be worshipped throughout earth (Zechariah 14:9).
One universal religious faith will create a unified culture, making it possible for all peoples to cooperate with Christ's administration. All nations will interact with one another from the standpoint of common religious ideals and values.
Everyone will learn and comprehend the policies, laws and teachings of Christ, whose impact will be far greater than that of any president or political figure in all history. As people experience the blessings His laws and teachings bring, they will hunger to learn more about how to apply them in their personal lives, communities and nations (Micah 4:2). They will at last have the world leader they can believe in, One who means it when He says, "I am the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6).
The resulting unity of faith will eliminate religious arguments, conflicts and wars, which have been responsible for the deaths of hundreds of millions throughout history. The world will at last know peace, coming to learn the very way to peace.
Christ's religious principles will not be based on human reasoning, human nature or human efforts but will flow from God Himself.
Today's world's system, like ancient Babylon, is a mixture of faiths. Even Christianity as practiced today is largely a humanly devised system of man-made beliefs built on human views of Christ with a few sprinklings of biblical principles thrown in for added flavor.
But the bulk of these faith systems don't come directly from Jesus Christ. They either distort or replace what Christ actually taught. All humanly devised faiths must be replaced with the true religion He will establish.
The introduction of this new universal faith will result in global repentance as one nation after another sees the error of its former religious traditions. All peoples will gain an understanding of their personal sins and evils, recognizing their own responsibility for the anguish and pain they have experienced.
King David foretold the coming of Christ's Kingdom, saying, "All nations whom You have made shall come and worship before You, O Lord, and shall glorify Your name" (Psalm 86:9). David also prophesied that "all kings shall fall down before Him; all nations shall serve Him" (Psalm 72:11).
This universal religion will include required observance of the religious festivals that God revealed to the ancient Israelites and that were later kept by Jesus and His disciples. For example, "it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles" (Zechariah 14:16).
The biblical Sabbath, the seventh day of the week (from Friday sundown to Saturday sundown in biblical reckoning of time), will also be a required religious observance of all people. "'. . . And from one Sabbath to another, all flesh shall come to worship before Me,' says the Lord" (Isaiah 66:23).
All governments need a singular guiding purpose to endure. For example, a goal of the U.S. government, as stated in the Declaration of Independence, is to enable its citizens to enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
This is a lofty, wonderful and inspiring purpose of government. However, such purposes are all too often thwarted because of the limitations of human nature expressed through human politicians with personal character flaws. And sadly, the pursuit of happiness now is often taken to mean merely the pursuit of materialistic pleasures, which the Bible labels as covetousness and lust.
Human governments tend to become corrupt simply because both the rulers and the ruled citizens are inherently flawed. For that reason, the framers of the U.S. Constitution designed a government of checks and balances between three distinct power-sharing institutions—the presidency, the Congress and the court system. A government headed by a singular despotic ruler, it was believed, would inherently tend to abuse power.
The same appraisal of human nature led to the Constitution establishing the country as a republic, with representative government, rather than as a straight majority-rule democracy. The idea was to blunt the negative tendencies of "mob" rule. Similar thinking was involved in the creation of two legislative bodies in the Congress—the Senate and the House of Representatives.
The framers of the Constitution understood from the Bible and the wisdom of experience that human nature was corruptible. They also knew that human government could not change human nature.
The prophet Isaiah describes the corruption that bad leadership can bring to all levels of social structure: "For the leaders of this people cause them to err, and those who are led by them are destroyed . . . For everyone is a hypocrite and an evildoer, and every mouth speaks folly" (Isaiah 9:16-17 ).
But the Kingdom of God, in contrast, will be ruled by perfect, righteous rulers. The goal of government will not be "the pursuit of happiness" as it has typically been interpreted—the pursuit of pleasure. Rather, it will have a much higher purpose, which involves bringing people true happiness and joy.
Under Christ's administration of the Kingdom of God, all government activity will be designed for one universal purpose—the development of righteous character in every person through conversion toward God's divine nature.
This purpose is superlatively greater than the purpose of human government. As Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount: "You shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect" (Matthew 5:48). Christ's purpose will be the perfecting of human character through the remaking of the human heart—changing its motives, intents, thinking, desires, decisions and actions.
As a result, humanity will become governable for the first time in a way that can permanently sustain progress, peace and prosperity—and real happiness. This progress will be sustained continuously for 1,000 years.
This change of the human heart and character can come only by receiving God's own divine nature through the gift of His Holy Spirit.
The Spirit of God is not generally accessible to mankind now. But God will change all that: "And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh" (Joel 2:28).
The Spirit of God, available only from Him, is the essential nature of God Himself, somewhat as DNA is the code that contains the essence of the human being.
The Spirit's role in a person's life is to perfect the person's character, to make him like God. Its fruits, being shown in human behavior, are the divine attributes of God: "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control . . . And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires" (Galatians 5:22-24 ).
In due time, the opportunity to receive the Holy Spirit will be extended to everyone on earth so that all will be able to have God's laws written in their hearts and minds. One nation after another will be converted to God's way of thinking. God's laws of loving God and loving your neighbor as yourself (Luke 10:27) will be written into the human character through the Spirit of God. As God says, "I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people" (Hebrews 8:10).
A principal role of government is to create a framework of knowledge for smooth and harmonious social development and material progress. Peace and prosperity depend in large part on a common foundation of knowledge.
The modern world has brought man unbelievable progress, but because of incomplete and flawed knowledge of the purpose and nature of man, human-generated knowledge has brought mankind to the brink of instant global destruction. This strange paradox flows from the human obsession with material knowledge while rejecting the true foundation of all knowledge—which is spiritual knowledge.
The essence of all true spiritual knowledge lies in God's divinely ordained laws. It is God's desire that we be "filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding . . . in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God" (Colossians 1:9-10 ).
While our materialistic world lacks understanding of this truth, the foundation for logical thinking in such diverse disciplines as science, history, physical and mental health sciences, accounting, business practices, economics, sociology, psychology, strategic planning, environmental conservation, urban design and much more can all be found within the Word of God—the Bible.
Under the reign of Jesus Christ, the opening up of biblical understanding will lead to answering mysteries yet to be solved in science and all other forms of knowledge. Immersing the world in an explosion of spiritual knowledge from Scripture will open progress to levels of achievement never before seen by the human race. "The government will be upon His [Christ's] shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end" (Isaiah 9:6-7 ).
Isaiah continues describing a world of knowledge with no harm or destruction allowed anywhere: "They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea" (Isaiah 11:9).
All of Christ's policies will make the family the centerpiece of social, economic and educational organization. The family is the primary organizational structure God works through. Starting with Adam and Eve, God designed social relationships to flow from marriage and parents (who have authority over and responsibility for their children) into the extended family, community and nations.
Jesus Christ explained that over all human beings is a great God the Father—whom He revealed, as the Father had not been known before Christ's coming (Matthew 11:27). Besides being the Father of humanity by physically creating us, God also intends to be our Father in a greater, spiritual sense.
Christ and His apostles made it clear that marriage and family are the focus of social development within the Church, as they were in ancient Israel. Mankind can be connected directly to God the Father and Christ in a family relationship.
The administration of religion as well as the system of civil and criminal laws will all enhance the family unit, "so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life" (Deuteronomy 6:2, New International Version).
The allocation of land and resources will strengthen the family's well-being with property permanently held within families. "Every man will sit under his own vine and under his own fig tree, and no one will make them afraid" (Micah 4:4, NIV).
Education in the way of God and the approach toward knowledge will similarly revolve around the family. Deuteronomy 6:7 says of God's words, "You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up"—that is, at every opportunity.
Christ will structure government to empower our human potential for astonishing personal achievement and progress in every aspect of society. The outcome will be a utopian civilization beyond the imagination of modern man or ancient philosophers.
Regions that are currently inhospitable will be transformed: "The desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose" (Isaiah 35:1).
Food production will explode as one huge crop cannot be fully harvested before planting time of the next: "'Behold, the days are coming,' says the Lord, 'When the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him who sows seed; the mountains shall drip with sweet wine, and all the hills shall flow with it'" (Amos 9:13).
Even the natures of dangerous animals will be changed so they will never harm human beings: "The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and the little child will lead them . . . They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain" (Isaiah 11:6-9 , NIV). This is also figurative of the peace that will exist among nations.
All nations will travel to Jerusalem, which will be the international center of religion, education and government: "All nations shall flow to it . . . and say, 'Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord . . . and we shall walk in His paths" (Isaiah 2:2-3 ).
The earth will burgeon with beautiful new gleaming cities in a Garden-of-Eden environment. "He will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord" (Isaiah 51:3). "And they shall rebuild the old ruins, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the ruined cities, the desolations of many generations" (Isaiah 61:4; see also Ezekiel 36:35).
Government has always been a central focus of the entire struggle of man. It is also a central focus within the Bible, both Old and New Testaments. While Christ stressed at His crucifixion, "My kingdom is not of this world" (John 18:36), that does not mean He condoned the evils of human government in what the Bible calls "this present evil age" (Galatians 1:4).
Jesus Christ condemned the manipulation of government by selfish, greedy and arrogant men who often dominate the world's system. He explained that the rulers of His day, like so many in our own time, loved to lord it over the peoples, making themselves appear to be benefactors when, in fact, they were unjust exploiters of the common man (Matthew 20:25).
Jesus taught that true leadership resides in serving others and loving your neighbor as yourself. In one of His first recorded messages He said this: "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor" (Luke 4:18-19 , NIV).
Jesus Christ is the greatest advocate for government change who ever walked the earth. After all, He created the earth for His government under the coming Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God taught by Christ remains the greatest unrecognized truth in the meaning of human life. But that truth is being revealed here in this publication proclaiming Christ's original gospel.
Christ's entire message rests on the foundation of the promise of a new world system based on His government that will be established at His second coming.
Make no mistake— change is coming, and it's no empty political promise! As recorded in Mark 1:15, throughout His ministry Jesus said: "The time is fulfilled. The Kingdom is at hand. Repent, and believe the gospel." GN
Please, subscribe to get an access.