Where’s the transparency? IRS refuses to reveal information on whose taxes the President has requested


WASHINGTON – Federal government accountability group Cause of Action (CoA) today filed a lawsuit against the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for refusing to release documents that would identify the names of individuals and businesses of which President Obama has requested tax records.


“Hiding behind a claim of privacy that does not stand up when you consider the commitment to transparency made by this Administration, the IRS has no grounds for refusing our request,” stated Karen Groen, Chief Oversight Counsel at Cause of Action. “American taxpayers deserve to know if the President has requested to see their tax information. I’d like to know if he wanted to see my tax returns, wouldn’t you?”


CoA filed a FOIA request in April for communications between President Obama and the IRS requesting the tax returns of either individuals or businesses. The IRS denied CoA’s request for the names of those taxpayers, obstructing the path to transparency that will help taxpayers know what is happening in Washington. Today, CoA filed suit against the IRS demanding the production of this request.


The complaint filed today, along with our exhibits, can be found here.




  1. AD-RtR/OS! says

    Next, we will learn that CoA is being investigated by Homeland Security for something or other.

  2. The Freedom of Information Act does allow certain exemptions from release of information, and one of those is personal privacy (exemption 5, IIRC). So perhaps the IRS is correct in withholding the names of the people about whom this White House requested IRS information. However, they cannot justifiable refuse to release any document (record) from the White House requesting that information — only the names of the individuals. So they should have released any record (memo, email, letter — whatever) from Obama or the White House requesting IRS information on XXXXXXX (with the names blacked out). Even that would demonstrate something important: that the White House is indeed using the IRS to obtain personal information. Appeal.

  3. Why is it a privacy violation for the IRS to release these names to CoA but it’s not a privacy violation to release the actual tax returns to Obama?

  4. Bill Abell says

    More importantly, why in the hell do we have such a law allowing a president(I do not care which party)to obtain this information without a court order and amply stated justification under the constitution?


  1. […] group filed a suit Tuesday morning against the Internal Revenue Service over refusing to release the names […]

  2. […] SOMETIME WHAT THEY DON’T SAY IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN WHAT THEY DO SAY: Cause of Action, an independent non-profit legal activist group based in Washington, D.C., filed a Freedom of Information Act in March asking for documents on presidential requests for tax returns of individuals or businesses. COA says that what the IRS did not say in its denial of that FOIA suggests President Obama has indeed sought copies of tax returns for somebody. Find out what happened next here. […]