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Saturday, May 18, 2024

IRS Agent’s Chilling Visit to Reporter’s Home Is Scrutinized by Weaponization Committee

'The IRS's action could be interpreted as an attempt to intimidate a witness before Congress...'

(Ken Silva, Headline USAOn March 8, independent reporter Matt Taibbi testified to the House Weaponization Subcommittee about the secretive network of government-sponsored groups working to censor the internet—what Taibbi called the most important story in his award-winning career.

That same day, an IRS agent paid an unannounced visit to Taibbi’s home in New Jersey—something that Weaponization Subcommittee Chairman Jim Jordan said he has a hard time believing is a coincidence.

“The circumstances surrounding the IRS’s unannounced and unprompted visit to Mr. Taibbi’s home, at the exact time that he was testifying to Congress about ‘the most serious’ government abuse he has witnessed in his career as a journalist, are incredible,” Jordan said Monday in a letter to IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

Taibbi is seeking information about the IRS visit to Taibbi’s home, including all documents and communications referring to the visit, as well as all communications between Treasury and IRS referring to Taibbi.

Taibbi, for his part, tweeted Monday that he will not comment on the situation until the IRS answers Jordan’s letter.

But Jordan’s letter makes clear that the IRS visit likely had nothing to do with monetary issues.

According to Jordan’s letter, the IRS agent left a note on Taibbi’s door since the reporter was away testifying to Congress. The letter told Taibbi to call the IRS.

“According to Mr. Taibbi, the IRS notified his accountant that the IRS had accepted his 2018 filing, and in the four-and-a-half years since then, the IRS has never notified Mr. Taibbi or his accountant of any issue with this return—until the day he was testifying before Congress,” Jordan said.

“In light of the hostile reaction to Mr. Taibbi’s reporting among left-wing activists, and the IRS’s history as a tool of government abuse, the IRS’s action could be interpreted as an attempt to intimidate a witness before Congress,” Jordan added, referencing the Obama-era IRS’s improper targeting of tea party groups.

In a Monday editorial, the Wall Street Journal agreed with Jordan, noting that the IRS visit came on the heels of the Federal Trade Commission demanding that Twitter turn over personal details about Taibbi and other Twitter Files reporters.

The IRS visit also took place around the same time as the Democrats on the Weaponization Subcommittee were demanding Taibbi to release details about his confidential sources.

“The fear of many Americans is that, flush with its new $80 billion in funding from Congress, the IRS will unleash its fearsome power against political opponents,” WSJ’s editorial board said. “Mr. Taibbi deserves to know why the agency decided to pursue him with a very strange house call.”

Ken Silva is a staff writer at Headline USA. Follow him at twitter.com/jd_cashless.

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