Archives for 2014

IRS Complaint Against AARP for Excessive Lobbying

Letter to the IRS 

2012 11 29 Letter to IRS re AARP, Inc.

IRS Responses

2013 1 10 IRS Response AARP, Inc

2013-1-16 IRS Response, AARP, Inc.

FOIA Request and Documents on “Operation in our Sites”

2011-9-2 ICE FOIA Request-Website Seizures

Document Productions

r_11-14418 Item 1 REDACTED_Part1

r_11-14418 Item 1 REDACTED_Part2

r_11-14418 Item 1 REDACTED_Part3

r_11-14418 Item 1 REDACTED_Part4

r_11-14418 Item 1 REDACTED_Part5

r_11-14418 Item 1 REDACTED_Part6

r_11-14418 Item 1 REDACTED_Part7

2011-11-17 ICE – Seized websites list


11-14418 Item 11 REDACTED

Cause of Action Statement On Senate Passage of the FOIA Improvement Act

Cause of Action, which was a key supporter of the FOIA Improvement Act, released the following statement in response from Executive Director Dan Epstein:

Despite resistance from some in the bureaucracy and political gamesmanship in the Senate, the American public’s desire for greater transparency allowed our Senators to cross the aisle to pass historic FOIA reform.  Cause of Action celebrates the passage of the FOIA Improvement Act because it will make our government more accountable and transparent for the public it serves.

Wall Street Journal: Disclosing an Invasion of Privacy Would Be an Invasion of Privacy

Read the full story: Wall Street Journal

“In an abrupt decision, the Treasury inspector general’s office said that the documents are covered by privacy and disclosure laws and can’t be provided to Cause of Action, despite a promise last week to hand over some 2,500. . . .


“All of the 2,043 pages of documents we have determined to be responsive were collected by the Secretary of the Treasury with respect to the determination of possible liability under Title 26 of the United States Code. These pages consist of return information protected by 26 U.S.C. § 6103 and may not be disclosed absent an express statutory exception,” said the office in a letter dated Dec. 1.”


It’s something of a Catch-22, but the logic is not obviously unsound. If the IRS violated taxpayer privacy by providing information to the White House—and as Glenn Reynolds never tires of reminding us, President Obama himself “joked” about auditing his enemies—it’s easy to imagine that disclosing specific details of the violations would be impossible without compounding them. All of which is a strong argument for a confidential but independent investigation of the administration’s abuse of the IRS.

Washington Examiner: Feds balk at releasing docs showing IRS sharing tax returns with White House

Read the full story: Washington Examiner

Less than a week after ’fessing up that it found some 2,500 documents potentially showing that the IRS shared taxpayer returns with the White House, the Obama administration has reversed course and won’t release the trove to a group suing for access.


In an abrupt decision, the Treasury inspector general’s office said that the documents are covered by privacy and disclosure laws and can’t be provided to Cause of Action, despite a promise last week to hand over some 2,500.


The decision coincides  with publication this week of the Washington Examiner’s series,“Watchdogs, lapdogs and attack dogs,” that assesses problems with the IG system, including the tendency in some quarters to protect federal officials and agencies from critical scrutiny.

Fox News: Watchdog reveals thousands of docs relating to disclosure of taxpayer data to White House

Read the full story: Fox News

Dan Epstein, a spokesman for Cause of Action, told he believes that the IRS “essentially ignored the order of the court” with this declaration and that the group is considering the best path forward to force the IRS to disclose the documents.


However, Epstein said that the group feels that TIGTA’s acknowledgment of the documents is “absolutely” a victory in their investigation. He said the sheer number of relevant documents indicates that wrongdoing occurred on the part of both the IRS and the White House.


“That indicates scandal,” he said.

Washington Examiner: Watchdogs or lapdogs? A system meant to protect the public has been co-opted by the feds

Read the full story: Washington Examiner

Cutting agency budgets or blocking the confirmation of presidential appointees also have been mentioned as tools Congress can use to force the president to deal with a problematic inspector general.


Dan Epstein, executive director of the outside watchdog group Cause of Action, said slashing the budget of a weak IG can pressure the president to find a replacement, but added he is not aware of that ever having been done.


“There’s obviously a political cost of doing that,” he said.