The Biden administration is refusing to comment on an IRS agent’s unprovoked visit to journalist Matt Taibbi’s home on the same day that he testified to Congress about the left’s “weaponization” of government.
As previously reported, an IRS agent suddenly appeared at Taibbi’s home hours after he testified in front of the House Judiciary Committee on March 9th and proceeded to leave a note asking him to call the agency.
When Taibbi dialed up the agency, he learned that his 2018 and 2021 tax returns had mysteriously been rejected ostensibly because of identity concerns.
Troubled by the weird timing, the award-winning journalist responded to the revelations by reaching out to Judiciary Committee chair Jim Jordan, who in turn submitted a letter this week to IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel and the Department of Treasury demanding answers.
Now fast-forward to Wednesday, when White House spokesperson John Kirby refused to answer any questions about what happened to Taibbi, instead telling the New York Post to talk to the IRS directly for answers.
“I’m afraid I’m going to have to refer you to the IRS,” he said, according to the Post.
During a House appropriations subcommittee hearing later that day, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen likewise refused to offer up any answers and explanations.
The back-and-forth exchange began with Rep. Chris Stewart asking Yellen whether she’d heard about what had happened to Taibbi.
“I also sit on House Weaponization Select Subcommittee. Couple weeks ago, we had a journalist before us, Matt Taibbi, who, by the way, is not a conservative. He’s an independent journalist, but is known to be progressive or to the left, not to the right,” he said.
“And during the few hours that he’s appearing before Congress, an IRS agent appears at his home and leaves him a note. Are you familiar with this? Are you aware of this?” Stewart then asked.
Yellen replied that “no,” she was not, prompting Stewart to explain the whole situation to her from beginning to end.
“OK, well, it’s been well reported, and I can tell you more details, but here it is. A journalist is appearing before Congress to talk about the weaponization of the federal government. And during that time, an IRS agent goes to his home. I got to tell you, I have never heard of an IRS agent making an appearance at someone’s home, short of them being under investigation for fraud, or they want to be questioned for fraud,” he said.
“And I would ask — I mean, you’re an economist, you’re a mathematician, what are the chances of that being just luck that the IRS appeared at someone’s home while he’s testifying about weaponization of federal government before Congress? Because I think it’s minuscule. I think it’s one in a million or less. And you weren’t aware of that. But now you — I’ve told you about it. I need to ask you with direct oversight of the IRS, does that bother you?” he added.
IRS showed up at home of Twitter files journalist Matt Taibbi the day of his testimony to Congress https://t.co/YnGh5gbrvk pic.twitter.com/YngETLXBqG
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) March 28, 2023
Yellen played coy.
“It’s certainly something that I would want to look into. I’m not aware that IRS agents do that, except as you said, in cases where there’s an investigation for law-breaking that’s underway,” she replied.
The back-and-forth exchange concluded with Stewart stressing to Yellen how things like what happened to Taibbi are damaging to the IRS’s credibility.
“It seems remarkable that this was a coincidence. It seems nearly impossible. And one comment, if I could, I want to be respectful of our time. The U.S. government collects taxes almost entirely because people are willing to volunteer compliance. That only works if they trust the IRS and the tax policy and tax engagement,” he said.
“And when we hear things like this, it breaks that trust. And we’ve sent a letter to you asking for information regarding this communication. And I would ask if you would commit that you’ll provide that information, because it’s deeply troubling for many of us,” he added.
As for Taibbi, he has yet to speak publicly about the IRS agent. In a tweet posted Monday, he explained that he’d rather wait until the IRS officially responds to Jordan’s line of questioning.
“For those asking, I don’t want to comment on the IRS issue pending an answer to chairman @JimJordan’s letter. I’m not worried for myself, but I did feel the Committee should be aware of the situation,” he explained.
For those asking, I don’t want to comment on the IRS issue pending an answer to chairman @Jim_Jordan’s letter. I’m not worried for myself, but I did feel the Committee should be aware of the situation.
— Matt Taibbi (@mtaibbi) March 28, 2023
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