Continued from page 1

Ms. O'Donnell has spent the past six months trying to find out more about what happened to her personally, with little success.

Investigators have told her the probe has been closed, without offering an explanation. Ms. O'Donnell’s attempts to get records about the possible misuse of her tax files through Freedom of Information Act requests have been delayed or denied.

Mr. Martel did not return calls seeking comment, and Senate investigators have been unable to get permission to interview him about Ms. O'Donnell’s case.

The mystery aside, the incident has shined a spotlight on the access non-IRS employees have to Americans’ personal tax records.

Ms. O'Donnell and congressional aides have been told that criminal investigators in states have the ability to dial into the IRS database.

There is little public knowledge of such inquiries, and whether they are legally justified or if they’re being abused by those with political axes to grind.

In April, Ms. O'Donnell was told the investigation into her case was closed, though she was given few details about the findings.

During a one-hour interview with Mr. Martel this year, she was given the name of the man believed to have accessed her records and shown his photo. The man had also friended her on her personal Facebook page, she said.

Beyond that, all Mr. Martel told Ms. O'Donnell was that the man had no legitimate reason to access her records and that investigators had seen other instances like hers in which tax privacy had been breached.

Even before she got the message, the IRS was a sore subject for Ms. O'Donnell and her family.

She fought through a three-year audit into her personal finances that ended with her repaying $1,100 to the federal government. Family and friends also were subjected to audits, though they were cleared, she said.

She had been warned that such events were possible.

As she was considering a Senate run, Ms. O'Donnell said she was told by a prominent political figure in Delaware that if she challenged Mr. Castle, the IRS and others would “F with her head.”

Ms. O'Donnell said she has reason to believe her political opponents were behind the scheme.

“An official with this investigation told me that there was evidence linking this inappropriate use of my tax records with the Delaware political leadership, Delaware political leaders on both sides of the aisle,” she said, though she declined to identify the official with whom she spoke.

Story Continues →