The WSJ tells us
““You shared, at least by someone’s definition … personal IRS taxpayer information with the White House,” said Rep. Jim Jordan (R., Ohio)….
Ms. Ingram suggested during Wednesday’s hearing that such discussions can be appropriate under exceptions to the IRS confidentiality rules. But the IRS still might feel obligated to redact the information when turning over documents or emails to Congress or the public, she said.
“There is a difference between whether someone gives me information about a taxpayer…versus releasing” it, she said at one point.
Democrats also noted that the IRS has sometimes over-redacted information it has turned over to the committee.
The sweeping scope of the IRS confidentiality rules has been a persistent problem for lawmakers in recent months as they probe the agency’s role in overseeing politically active tea party groups seeking tax-exempt status.”
Is there any legal support whatsoever for the IRS claim that it is OK for the IRS to share certain kinds of confidential taxpayer information with the White House?
An ironic feature of the situation is that since the name of the taxpayer has been blocked out, the taxpayer doesn’t know his information has been given to the White House, so he can’t sue for breach of confidentiality.
I came across a very strange article in The American Prospect, “The Rise and Fall of a “Scandal”, about the IRS scandals. It’s noteworthy because it looks at the following figure and concludes that the media, though well-meaning, has unfairly blackened the reputation of the IRS by its coverage.
I look at that, and I conclude that the liberal media covered the scandal at first, but then stopped covering it in accordance with the White House strategy of denying that anything wrong had happened. Read more…
Professor Fleischer’s May 16 “A Dickensian Delay at the I.R.S.” at the NYT isn’t looking so good. He said,
Long delays are evidence of ineptitude and a reluctance to tackle difficult issues, not evidence of a political conspiracy. It may be the case that a couple of I.R.S. employees went rogue, as the acting I.R.S. commissioner, Steven T. Miller, suggested on Wednesday before he was ousted from the job.
Aggressive investigation of those individuals may be appropriate. But firing Mr. Miller, as President Obama did on Wednesday, is mere tokenism. The witch hunt obscures the institutional failures that Congress could actually correct.
By now we have heard the testimony of the Cincinnati people, who say Mr. Miller’s IRS was lying when it tried to blame them, Read more…
First, the Administration said there was no IRS mistreatment of Tea Party groups. Second, the Administration said there was, but it was the Cincinnati office’s fault, not the IRS in Washington. Third, it became clear it was the fault of the IRS in Washington. Fourth, it became clear that it was the fault of the IRS Chief Counsel’s office in Washington. Now, we discover that the IRS Chief Counsel met with President Obama at a crucial time. An anonymous federal lawyer wrote this to TaxProf: (my boldface)
As someone who works as an attorney at an agency general counsel’s office, I think people are missing the significance of Obama meeting with the IRS chief counsel Read more…
This isn’t the typical tax case, where a lawyer is helpful so the client can avoid breaking the law, or the somewhat rarer one where the lawyer helps the client fix a mess after the client accidentally breaks the law, or the even rarer kind where the lawyer helps the client after client purposely breaks the law. This is a case where a lawyer is helpful so the IRS doesn’t think *it* can get away with breaking the law. Read more…
The White House visitor logs are actually available in spreadsheets, downloadable, on the web. I didn’t keep the address, but you can google it. I did edit the 2009-2010 one to extract just the likely IRS ones (Jonathan Davis is a common sort of name, so maybe not all of those are the IRS Chief of Staff). There may be some useful mining to be done on dates. The spreadsheet is at:
I already had the 2009-2012 bonus spreadsheet. I forget where I got it. Here it is, though: