In a shocking revelation, the Treasury Inspector General has identified some 2,500 documents that “potentially” show taxpayer information held by the Internal Revenue Service being shared with President Obama’s White House.
The discovery was revealed to the group Cause of Action, which has sued for access to any of the documents. It charges that the IRS and White House have harassed taxpayers.
In an email from the Justice Department’s tax office, an official revealed the high number of documents, suggesting that the White House was hip deep in probes of taxpayers, likely including conservatives and Tea Party groups associated with the IRS scandal.
In requesting a delay in the delivery date of the documents, Justice told Cause of Action, “The agency [Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration] has located 2,500 potentially responsive documents and anticipates being able to finish processing 2,000 of these pages by the December 1 date. It needs the additional two weeks to deal with the last 500 pages to determine if they are responsive and make any necessary withholdings.”
Cause of Action, which calls itself “Advocates for Government Accountability,” wasn’t surprised by the number of documents. It had filed suit to win access to them and a federal judge shot down Treasury’s earlier bid to hide the documents.
“This disclosure, coming only after Cause of Action sued TIGTA over its refusal to acknowledge whether such investigations took place, and after the court ordered TIGTA to reveal whether or not documents existed, signals that the White House may have made significant efforts to obtain taxpayers’ personal information,” it said in a statement to Secrets.
The disclosure follows the agency’s recovery of 30,000 “lost” emails from former IRS executive Lois Lerner, the central figure in the IRS-Tea Party scandal.
Cause of Action said the latest finding renews their “concerns about the decaying professionalism of, and apparent slip into partisanship by, IRS's senior leadership.”
Below is the full email from Treasury:
My client wants to know if you would consent to a motion pushing back (in part) TIGTA’s response date by two weeks to December 15, 2014. The agency has located 2,500 potentially responsive documents and anticipates being able to finish processing 2,000 of these pages by the December 1 date. It needs the additional two weeks to deal with the last 500 pages to determine if they are responsive and make any necessary withholdings. We would therefore like to ask the court to permit the agency to issue a response (including production) on December 1 as to any documents it has completed processing by that date, and do the same as to the remaining documents by December 15. I note that the court’s remand was for a “determin[ation],” which the D.C. Circuit has recently explained can precede actual production by “days or a few weeks,” but we would prefer to simply agree on a date for turning over any of the remaining 500 documents that may be responsive.
Trial Attorney, Tax Division
U.S. Department of Justice
RELATED: Tea Party lawsuit thrown outPaul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.