An administration IRS cover up?
Washington Free Beacon:
The Treasury Department on Wednesday refused to confirm or deny the existence of an inspector general report investigating whether or not former White House economic adviser Austan Goolsbee illegally accessed tax information on the Koch brothers.There does not appear to be an innocent explanation of this event. It also fits a pattern of using the IRS to attack politicla enemies of the President. It fits the mold of Chicago Way thug politics.
The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by the Washington Free Beacon, declined to acknowledge the existence of the report.
“With regard to your request for documents pertaining to a third party, TIGTA can neither admit nor deny the existence of responsive records,” said in its response. “Your request seeks access to the types of documents for which there is no public interest that outweighs the privacy interests established and protected by the FOIA (5 U.S.C. §§ 552(b)(7)(C) and (b)(6)).”
Former White House Council of Economic Advisers chairman Austan Goolsbee sparked a mini-scandal in 2010 when he told reporters during a background press briefing that Koch Industries—the company of libertarian philanthropists Charles and David Koch—paid no income taxes.
Conservative lawmakers and activists said Goolsbee’s statements not only unfairly singled out the president’s political opponents but also used confidential IRS documents to do so.
TIGTA announced in response to a letter from six Republican senators it was launching an investigation into Goolsbee’s comments and whether he violated the law. However, the report was never released to the senators or the public.
The Washington Examiner obtained an Aug. 10, 2011, email from Treasury Special Agent Daniel K. Carney, in which he wrote, “The final report relative to the investigation of Austan Goolsbee’s press conference remark is completed, has gone through all the approval processes.”
Koch Industries also filed a FOIA request in 2011 and received a similar response.
The response from TIGTA essentially argues that the privacy rights of a former White House adviser trump the public interest in whether or not he illegally accessed the tax information of a private company owned by the president’s political opponents.
“Almost three years since his remarks and the inspector general’s investigation of those remarks, we still don’t know what Mr. Goolsbee really relied upon nor has it ever been explained why Mr. Goolsbee was talking about Koch in the first place,” Koch Industries legal counsel Mark Holden told the Free Beacon in May.