Judge: IRS Must Say If White House Sought Taxpayers’ Information

Article posted on August 31st, 2015 by WhatAmIMissingHere

IRS Building SignBy Stephen Dinan

A federal judge Friday ordered the IRS to turn over the records of any requests from the White House seeking taxpayers’ private information from the tax agency, delivering a victory to a group that for two years has been trying to pry the data loose.

It’s not clear that there were any such requests — but Judge Amy Berman Jackson said the IRS cannot just refuse to say so by citing taxpayer confidentiality laws, known as section 6103 of the tax code.

The ruling marks yet another federal judge who has ordered the Obama administration to be more transparent when responding to open-records records. The State Department is facing a barrage of orders from federal judges demanding more cooperation in releasing former Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton’s emails.

White House officials and federal agencies are allowed, under very select circumstances, to ask the IRS for protected information. But the requests must be carefully cleared.

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.

The judge said Friday, however, that the agency couldn’t use the privacy protection “to shield the very misconduct it was enacted to prohibit.”

“As we have said all along, this administration cannot misinterpret the law in order to potentially hide evidence of wrongdoing,” said Dan Epstein, executive director at Cause of Action. “No administration is above the law, and we are pleased that the court has sided with us on this important point.”     (my emphasis)

READ all of Stephen Dinan’s comments from The Washington Times here.

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