- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The federal government will not disclose thousands of documents sought by an IRS watchdog that may prove that taxpayer data was improperly shared with the White House.

The nonprofit Cause of Action filed a lawsuit against the federal government when its Freedom of Information Act requests were stonewalled roughly two years ago. A judge agreed with the organization and ordered the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) to honor the request for transparency.

An attorney with TIGTA wrote Cause of Action on Tuesday and informed the organization of “2,509 pages of documents potentially responsive to your request,” Fox News reported Wednesday. Of those documents, 2,043 were in fact responsive to the organization’s request.

The documents will not be released to Cause of Action, however, because TIGTA said the pages “consist of return information protected by 26 U.S.C. § 6103 and may not be disclosed absent an express statutory exception. … Because no such exception exists here, we are withholding those,” Fox reported.

“That indicates scandal,” Dan Epstein, a spokesman for Cause of Action, told Fox. “This White House, for whatever reason, was looking at anyone from big companies to little guys who all have a right to the confidentiality to their most private information. My organization, Cause of Action, had to fight for two years just to get transparency. This is supposed to be the most transparent organization in history, so why spend so long trying to make sure that these records don’t go public?” he added.

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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