Well now that the Internal Revenue Service has come out of the closet and admitted they targeted conservative groups, it should surprise anyone that it also “targeted for audit candidates for public office,” according to the Treasury’s inspector general for tax administration J. Russel George. George made the information known privately to Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA).
The Washington Times reports:
In a written response to a request by Mr. Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, Mr. George said a review turned up four cases since 2006 in which unidentified government officials took part in “unauthorized access or disclosure of tax records of political donors or candidates,” including one case he described as “willful.” In four additional cases, Mr. George said, allegations of improper access of IRS records were not substantiated by the evidence.
Mr. Grassley has asked Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to explain why the Justice Department chose not to prosecute any of the cases. The Iowa Republican told The Washington Times that the IRS “is required to act with neutrality and professionalism, not political bias.”
The investigation did not name the government officials who obtained the IRS records improperly, nor did it reveal the identities or political parties of the people whose tax records were compromised. By law, taxpayer records at the IRS are supposed to be confidential.
Now be careful how you read this information. Notice it mentions “since 2006.” That doesn’t necessarily mean these incidents began in 2006. More than likely they were in 2008, 2010, and 2012. I’m only stating that because of a particular administration that has already demonstrated it will abuse the power of the IRS to intimidate their political enemies.
The Justice Department, led by Eric Holder, has declined to prosecute any of them, and refuses to release any other information about them, citing taxpayer confidentiality laws. Oh the irony!
“The Justice Department should answer completely and not hide behind taxpayer confidentiality laws to avoid accountability for its decision not to prosecute a violation of taxpayer confidentiality laws,” Mr. Grassley told The Times. “With the IRS on the hot seat over targeting certain political groups, it’s particularly troubling to learn about ‘willful unauthorized access’ of tax records involving individuals who were candidates for office or political donors. The public needs to know whether the decision not to prosecute these violations was politically motivated and whether the individuals responsible were held accountable in any other way.”
According to George in his July 3 letter to Sen. Grassley, of the four instances in which the tax record were improperly accessed, three of the cases were determined to be “inadvertent.”
“In the fourth case, we presented evidence of a willful unauthorized access to the Department of Justice, but the case was declined for prosecution,” Mr. George wrote.