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The noose tightens: A federal judge today ruled that the IRS must turn over any records showing White House requests for private confidential taxpayer information.
Questions about potential White House meddling in taxpayers’ private information stretch back to the beginning of the Obama administration, when the then-White House chief economist seemed to describe the tax structure of Koch Industries during a briefing with reporters. His description was apparently incorrect, but it left some watchdog groups wondering if the White House had quietly sought information on conservatives, such as the billionaire Koch brothers.
Cause of Action sued in 2013 to get a look at whatever requests the White House, or other federal agencies, had made. The IRS refused, saying even the existence of those requests would be protected by confidentiality laws and couldn’t be released, so there was no reason to make the search. The judge said Friday, however, that the agency couldn’t use the privacy protection “to shield the very misconduct it was enacted to prohibit.”
If evidence is found that the White House was delving into the confidential tax records of its opponents, with IRS help, I think this scandal will finally reach critical mass. People might not go to jail, but the evidence will allow the individuals involved to sue and win in court. For the Democrats, Obama, and the IRS, this will not be pretty.