A government watchdog group has been forced to ask a federal court to insist that the government hand over thousands of documents that could show the IRS gave confidential taxpayer information to the White House.
The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, an internal oversight arm of the Treasury Department, indicated last month it was willing to hand over up to 2,500 documents that could show the IRS improperly shared this information with the Obama administration.
Questions have emerged about whether the IRS, led by commissioner John Koskinen, gave taxpayer data to the White House. But the answers will have to wait, as Treasury's inspector general has said it would not release documents that could show data was shared. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
TIGTA had collected these documents after Austan Goolsbee, the former chair of the White House’s Counsel of Economic Advisers, implied that Koch Industries doesn't pay any corporate income tax, which raised questions about how Goolsbee would know that.
But last week, TIGTA told Cause of Action, the group seeking those documents, that it could not hand them over after all. TIGTA said the rules of the tax code would prevent it from making them public. TIGTA said the documents contain confidential taxpayer data that cannot be released.
As a result, Cause of Action filed a new motion in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia that asks the court to dispute TIGTA's decision. That motion indicates a resolution of the fight could still take several months.
Under Cause of Action's proposed motion, the group would file a motion for summary judgment in late January, TIGTA would file its own arguments in late February, and all replies would be due by early April.