House Committee to probe release of Christine O'Donnell tax records
When Delaware GOP Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell was informed by the IRS that her tax records had been breached and published, it seemed at the time - 2010 - that it was an isolated incident.
Nearly 4 years later, the political dirty trick can be seen in a much different light. Revelations about the IRS targeting conservatives has called into question who accessed the information and gave it to the press.
The problem for O'Donnell and anyone who wants to get to the truth is that incredibly, getting to the bottom of who in the IRS is responsible will never be known. The law is set up to protect IRS employees from exposure.
Meanwhile, the House Ways and Means Committee has joined the Senate Finance Committee into trying to get to the bottom of the case.
The House Ways and Means Committee has joined the Senate Finance Committee in probing a string of incidents dating back to March 2010, when Ms. O'Donnell - a tea party favorite who riled Delaware's GOP establishment by besting party mainstay Mike Castle in a primary contest before losing to Democrat Chris Coons in the general election - was told by Treasury Department investigators that her tax information had been breached.
Since then, Ms. O'Donnell has run into roadblock after roadblock in her search for answers as officials at the IRS, in Delaware state government and at the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration remain tight-lipped.
But for Ms. O'Donnell, who believes she was politically targeted in much the same way the IRS has singled out tea party groups and Hollywood conservatives for extra tax scrutiny, the Ways and Means inquiry is another step in the slow yet steady journey toward closure.
"I would like to see [congressional] hearings, but the hearings are the means to an end. The end is that this gets exposed," she told The Washington Times last week. "Two powerful committees in both houses of Congress are investigating this. That alone indicates there is some serious weight to this. Unless this is all exposed, unless every level of inappropriateness and corruption is exposed, I certainly won't be the last person to be politically intimidated like this."
Congressional hearings, however, may be unlikely. Ways and Means sources and outside legal analysts say the IRS tax code prevents the disclosure of any information related to cases like Ms. O'Donnell's.
Even Ms. O'Donnell herself will not be briefed on what either congressional committee discovers, as the federal government asserts that tax law goes so far as to shield its own employees from being exposed publicly if they are engaged in willful targeting or other wrongdoing.
Only the chairmen of the investigating committees - Rep. Dave Camp, the Michigan Republican who heads Ways and Means, and Sen. Max Baucus, the outgoing Montana Democrat who heads the Senate finance panel - can learn exactly what happened in a case such as Ms. O'Donnell's.
By law, they are unable to reveal what they discover.
Gee...you'd think the system was rigged to protect IRS political machinations, eh?
Just an aside - the administration doesn't care how it looks when they use the IRS to target conservatives this year. They are beyond caring because the press and the American people don't care. The press will be cheering the IRS on as they seek to destroy the Tea Party and other conservative groups because they genuinely feel they are obstructing social progress and need to be silenced.
As far as gleaning a pattern of behavior from the IRS, for the press it's see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.