IRS Cancels Order for Spying Equipment

June 12, 2013 - 1:56 PM

IRS Purchasing Surveillance Equipment: Hidden Cameras in Coffee Trays, Plants

(AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) - The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has cancelled its purchase order for surveillance equipment, which had included coffee trays with hidden cameras and cameras that could be hidden in plants.

The IRS issued the cancellation on Wednesday at 11:49 a.m.

CNSNews.com published an initial story about the IRS's purchase order on Monday afternoon--and that story was linked on The Drudge Report.

As CNSNews.com reported, the IRS had issued a rush order for the surveillance equipment last Thursday, June 6. That order originally carried a deadline of Monday, June 10. Among the items the IRS sought to purchase were four coffee trays with hidden cameras, four cameras that could be concealed in plants, and two "concealed clock radios."

The original purchase order said that IRS already had an "Undisclosed Corporation" that could provide the items and that any would-be competitor would need to demonstrate that it, too, could furnish the type of equipment the IRS was seeking. The order said its descriptions of the items the IRS wanted to buy was "vague due to the use and nature of the items."

"The Internal Revenue Service intends to award a Purchase Order to an undisclosed Corporation," said the original order. "The following descriptions are vague due to the use and nature of the items. If you feel that you can provide the following equiptment [sic], please respond to this email no later than 4 days after the solicitation date."

"Vendors who can provide the required services at prices, terms and conditions equal to or better than those which can be provided by Undisclosed Corporation should submit clear and convincing data in writing substantiating an ability to furnish the entire requirement," said the now-cancelled order.

In recent weeks the IRS has been at the center of several scandals, including the targeting of Tea Party groups and subjecting them to greater scrutiny when applying for non-profit status during the 2010 and 2012 elections.

IRS Purchasing Surveillance Equipment: Hidden Cameras in Coffee Trays, Plants

(AP Photo)

A report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration showed that groups with names like “patriot” in their titles were singled out, required to complete lengthy personal questionnaires (often multiple times) and have their nonprofit status delayed, sometimes for more than three years.

Last week a second Inspector General report detailed nearly $50 million in wasteful spending by the agency on conferences, in which employees stayed at luxurious Las Vegas hotels, paid a keynote speaker $17,000 to paint several portraits, including a picture of U2 singer Bono, and spent $50,000 on parody videos of “Star Trek.”

Neither the IRS press office nor the IRS procurement office responded to inquiries from CNSNews.com asking why the purchase order was cancelled.