Update: 12/3/14 It seems that Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has intervened with the court’s decision forcing release of these documents. The White House is also working over-time to ensure the Judge’s ruling is impeded. This is more law-FARE.
Here is the link for more on this developing matter. Collusion and obstruction are being realized.
It begins with a FOIA lawsuit, then comes a ruling, then comes the Inspector General. It should be noted that those guilty is actually per document, per count. Congressional hearings are scheduled.
September 30, 2014 Mary Beth Hutchins, 202-400-2721
Cause of Action Defeats Treasury IG Tax Office in FOIA Lawsuit
Court Rules that TIGTA Must Process FOIA Request Regarding Investigations Into
Tax Records Improperly Shared with the President
WASHINGTON –The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled Monday that the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) must process an October 9, 2012 Cause of Action Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeking documents about investigations into unauthorized disclosures of taxpayer information to the Executive Office of the President.
Cause of Action’s Executive Director Dan Epstein said:
The court has ruled that the federal government cannot hide behind confidentiality laws to prevent Americans from knowing if our President has gained unauthorized access to their tax information. This is a decisive win for all Americans and for government transparency and accountability. The public already knows the President uses FOIA to shield his targeting of the press and this ruling prevents the President from using FOIA to shield his targeting of taxpayers.
Revealed: 2,500 new documents in IRS / W.H. harassment cases
In a shocking revelation, the Treasury Inspector General has identified some 2,500 documents that “potentially” show taxpayer information held by the Internal Revenue Service being shared with President Obama’s White House.
The discovery was revealed to the group Cause of Action, which has sued for access to any of the documents. It charges that the IRS and White House have harassed taxpayers.
In an email from the Justice Department’s tax office, an official revealed the high number of documents, suggesting that the White House was hip deep in probes of taxpayers, likely including conservatives and Tea Party groups associated with the IRS scandal.
In requesting a delay in the delivery date of the documents, Justice told Cause of Action, “The agency [Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration] has located 2,500 potentially responsive documents and anticipates being able to finish processing 2,000 of these pages by the December 1 date. It needs the additional two weeks to deal with the last 500 pages to determine if they are responsive and make any necessary withholdings.”
Cause of Action, which calls itself “Advocates for Government Accountability,” wasn’t surprised by the number of documents. It had filed suit to win access to them and a federal judge shot down Treasury’s earlier bid to hide the documents.
“This disclosure, coming only after Cause of Action sued TIGTA over its refusal to acknowledge whether such investigations took place, and after the court ordered TIGTA to reveal whether or not documents existed, signals that the White House may have made significant efforts to obtain taxpayers’ personal information,” it said in a statement to Secrets.
The disclosure follows the agency’s recovery of 30,000 “lost” emails from former IRS executive Lois Lerner, the central figure in the IRS-Tea Party scandal.
Cause of Action said the latest finding renews their “concerns about the decaying professionalism of, and apparent slip into partisanship by, IRS’s senior leadership.”
Below is the full email from Treasury:
My client wants to know if you would consent to a motion pushing back (in part) TIGTA’s response date by two weeks to December 15, 2014. The agency has located 2,500 potentially responsive documents and anticipates being able to finish processing 2,000 of these pages by the December 1 date. It needs the additional two weeks to deal with the last 500 pages to determine if they are responsive and make any necessary withholdings. We would therefore like to ask the court to permit the agency to issue a response (including production) on December 1 as to any documents it has completed processing by that date, and do the same as to the remaining documents by December 15. I note that the court’s remand was for a “determin[ation],” which the D.C. Circuit has recently explained can precede actual production by “days or a few weeks,” but we would prefer to simply agree on a date for turning over any of the remaining 500 documents that may be responsive.
18 page lawsuit is here in full text.