It’s been almost four years since Christine O’Donnell announced her candidacy for the U.S. Senate. And it’s been four years of stonewalling, denial, and stalling from the IRS regarding the matter of her tax records being given to a reporter.
O’Donnell penned an op-ed in the New York Post recounting her four-year quest for accountability that reads like something out of a Wes Craven novel:
On March 9, 2010, around 10 a.m., I announced my plans to run for senate representing Delaware.
Later that same day, my office received a call from a reporter asking about my taxes.
It’s since come out, after a halting and unenthusiastic investigation, that a Delaware Department of Revenue employee named David Smith accessed my records that day at approximately 2 p.m. — out of curiosity, he says.
That these records ended up in the hands of the press is just a coincidence, the IRS claims.
I wasn’t the only one preyed upon by the IRS, of course. The agency admits to targeting conservative nonprofits, asking them for membership lists and other data not required while delaying their tax-exempt status. And opponents of President Obama have been subjected to audits soon after criticizing the administration.
What we all have in common: no answers.
In January 2013, a US Treasury Department special agent told me that my tax records were compromised and misused. That was three years after my campaign. Now, in the 12 months since, no one has been called to testify, no more answers given.
How did Smith’s curiosity become an erroneous tax lien? How did the material end up in the hands of a journalist? Neither Smith, nor anyone else in the Delaware Department of Revenue, nor anyone at the IRS has never been placed under oath to explain this.
Fortunately, two congressional committees are working hard to break the stonewall and get answers. The House Ways and Means Committee has joined the Senate Judiciary Committee in an investigation into what happened and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has publicly raised questions about this case.
In a brutal irony, even if Congress does track down answers, they may not be able to share what they discover with me.
This is because the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), the agency looking into my case alongside Congress, cannot publicly disclose any information about what it finds in this investigation.
That’s supposedly according to Section 6103 of the US code which is intended to protect the privacy of personal tax information.
Too bad it didn’t protect mine.
There is such clear wrongdoing in this case that it’s amazing there is any controversy about investigating it. And yet, Democrats appear to be trying to block the probe and are even trying to smear the office of inspector general:
While there has been bipartisan support for resolving these cases, Congressmen Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.) and Matthew Cartwright (D-Pa.) are attempting to further impede investigations into my case as well as others. Shortly after the Ways and Means Committee confirmed it was investigating my case, these congressmen attacked TIGTA, accused that agency of being pro-Republican and called for an ethics investigation.
Trying to intimidate the messenger into changing the message is bizarre. This administration has a history of treating problematic inspector generals as political enemies. This undermines accountability and transparency in government — something that gives the lie to President Obama’s oft-stated goals for his administration.
O’Donnell can only wait while Congress pushes forward with its investigation. But she has a right to ask where she can go to get her reputation back from an agency that so callously — and illegally — took it.