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In Recorded Phone Conversation, IRS Agent Told Pro-Life Group It Must Keep Its Religious Beliefs to Itself, "Respect" Other People's Opinions on Abortion | Main | Patriots Sign Tim Tebow
June 10, 2013

Wow: IRS Claims Law Protecting the Privacy of Taxpayer Information Also Protects the Privacy of Those Who Violate Taxpayer Privacy

Sorry if that headline is a bit unfathomable. Now that I can put it into a real sentence: The IRS leaked the National Organization for Marriage's donor lists to its political opponent, Human Rights Watch. This is illegal. In fact, this is breathtakingly illegal.

NOM wants to know which IRS agent did this.

The IRS is claiming they can't tell NOM who illegally leaked confidential information, because the law forbidding the disclosure of confidential information also protects the confidentiality of those who illegally leak such information!

Astonishing.

Simply astonishing.

n April 2012, the NOM asked the IRS for an investigation. The inspector general's office gave them a complaint number. Soon they were in touch. Even though the leaked document bore internal IRS markings, the inspector general decided that maybe the document came from within the NOM. The NOM demonstrated that was not true.

For the next 14 months they heard nothing about an investigation. By August 2012, the NOM was filing Freedom of Information Act requests trying to find out if there was one. The IRS stonewalled. Their "latest nonresponse response," said Mr. Eastman, claimed that the law prohibiting the disclosure of confidential tax returns also prevents disclosure of information about who disclosed them. Mr. Eastman called this "Orwellian." He said that what the NOM experienced "suggests that problems at the IRS are potentially far more serious" than the targeting of conservative organizations for scrutiny.

This is one of those situations where you cannot write a joke because the joke is actually the facts of the matter. For example: here's the joke version.

NOM: I want to know who broke the law protecting confidentiality of taxpayer information.

IRS: We can't tell you that.

NOM: Why not?

IRS: The law protecting the confidentiality of taxpayer information protects the confidentiality of those who break the law of protecting the confidentiality of taxpayer information.

That's the joke version. It also happens to be the actual account of the IRS' position.


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posted by Ace at 04:44 PM

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