Treasury admits 'improper' examination of tax records
What's even more astonishing, is that the Department of Justice has refused to prosecite the perps.
The Treasury Department has admitted for the first time that confidential tax records of several political candidates and campaign donors were improperly scrutinized by government officials, but the Justice Department has declined to prosecute any of the cases.
Its investigators also are probing two allegations that the Internal Revenue Service "targeted for audit candidates for public office," the Treasury's inspector general for tax administration, J. Russell George, has privately told Sen. Chuck Grassley.
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.
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."
This is different from targeting non-profits who may or may not engage in political activity. These are bona fide candidates for public office and their donors who received illegal scrutiny (and, we presume, leaked information to the press) that appears to have been ideologically motivated (I doubt whether Grassley would be this incensed if the targets were Democrats.)
Treasury doesn't say if the transgressors were disciplined, although if there was no prosecution, one wonders why the department would even bother. For some bureaucrats, getting away with it is the same as being innocent.