IRS: Law That Protects Taxpayer Information Also Protects Government Agents Who Illegally Leak Taxpayer Information


The National Organization for Marriage saw their donor list, which was reported to the IRS, leaked to the left-wing group Human Rights Watch. NOM filed a complaint with the IRS in April of 2012 over the disclosure. Since then, they’ve been fighting with the IRS, and the latest response from the bureaucracy to a demand to know the name of the people who leaked the information is a suggestion that the law which makes taxpayer information private also makes the identity of those who illegally leak taxpayer information private.

Welcome to bizarro world:

In April 2012, the NOM asked the IRS for an investigation. The inspector general’s office gave them a complaint number. Soon they were in touch. Even though the leaked document bore internal IRS markings, the inspector general decided that maybe the document came from within the NOM. The NOM demonstrated that was not true.

For the next 14 months they heard nothing about an investigation. By August 2012, the NOM was filing Freedom of Information Act requests trying to find out if there was one. The IRS stonewalled. Their “latest nonresponse response,” said Mr. Eastman, claimed that the law prohibiting the disclosure of confidential tax returns also prevents disclosure of information about who disclosed them. Mr. Eastman called this “Orwellian.” He said that what the NOM experienced “suggests that problems at the IRS are potentially far more serious” than the targeting of conservative organizations for scrutiny.

“This is one of those situations where you cannot write a joke because the joke is actually the facts of the matter,” writes Ace.

It’s true. You can’t make this stuff up.