It may turn out that within the IRS abuse of Tea Party, conservative, Jewish and other groups was another layer of abuse: women. Catherine Engelbrecht so far has the most harrowing story to tell, of abuse by multiple executive branch agencies after she founded the grassroots election security watchdog True the Vote. Now former Republican Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell is naming names, saying that her tax information was compromised the very day she announced her Senate candidacy. That same day, the IRS slapped a lien on a house that it believed she owned, only to withdraw that lien when the agency discovered that she no longer owned it.
O’Donnell ran for Senate in 2010. She only found out about the breach of her private information this year.
The phone message earlier this year shocked the battled-scarred candidate, a tea party favorite who knocked off Republican mainstay Michael Castle in the primary before losing in a bid to win Vice President Joseph R. Biden’s former seat.
“Ms. O’Donnell, this is Dennis Martel, special agent with the U.S. Department of Treasury in Baltimore, Md. … We received information that your personal federal tax info may have been compromised and may have been misused by an individual,” he said in the January message left on her cellphone.
For Ms. O’Donnell, the message immediately raised red flags.
On March 9, 2010, the day she revealed her plan to run for the Senate in a press release, a tax lien was placed on a house purported to be hers and publicized. The problem was she no longer owned the house. The IRS eventually blamed the lien on a computer glitch and withdrew it.
That’s an awfully coincidental computer glitch.
Now Mr. Martel, a criminal investigator for the Treasury Department’s inspector general for tax administration, was telling her that an official in Delaware state government had improperly accessed her records on that very same day.
Beyond that, Ms. O’Donnell and Senate investigators who have tried to help her have run into a wall of silence, leaving more questions than answers about whether abuses of the IRS system extend to private individuals and not just the tax-exempt groups already identified as victims.
“I don’t know. And I’d like to know,” Ms. O’Donnell told The Washington Times in her first interview about the case. “Because whether it’s one, eight or 80 [cases], it’s an abuse of power at the IRS. It’s using the IRS as a political weapon, and that shouldn’t be done.”
Ahead of a new hearing on IRS abuse today, the Treasury Department told Sen. Chuck Grassley that at least four politicians — that could be candidates for office or officeholders, we don’t know — had their private information improperly accessed through the IRS since 2006. Evidently O’Donnell is one of them.