Obama's past IRS abuses can't be blamed on "low level workers," Austan Goolsbee and the Koch Brothers

This isn't the first time that President Obama's administration has abused the IRS's powers.  Austan Goolsbee who was Obama's chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors told reporters the amount of money that the Koch brothers had paid in taxes in 2010.  Note that this, like the abuses against the Tea Party, also occurred in 2010 and that it involved people that that administration hated as much as the Tea Party.  The current ruckus isn't the first time that Obama administration abuses of the IRS have been compared to the Nixon administration.

President Obama claims that he has "no patience" for the "outrageous" IRS mess, but if true, why didn't he do anything or even comment about Goolsbee's actions?

This is part of the discussion from my book Debacle (references in book):

[Austan] Goolsbee also learned how to punish the president’s political adversaries. The battle between the Koch bothers and President Obama hasn’t gotten as much coverage as that between George Soros and Republicans, but it is about as bitter.New Yorker headline gives one side of the “The billionaire brothers who are waging a war against Obama.”71 Goolsbee entered the fray at an August 27, 2010, press briefing where he let slip that he knew that Koch Industries, a multibillion-dollar energy business run by the libertarian Koch brothers, had paid no income taxes. “[W]e have a series of entities that do not pay corporate income tax, some of which are really giant firms. You know, Koch Industries is a multibillion-dollar business,” Mr. Goolsbee told reporters during an on-the- record background briefing on corporate taxes. 
Koch Industries is a privately held company and therefore their tax returns and tax payments are not normally publicly available. This recalls shades of Richard Nixon’s abuse of the Internal Revenue Service to collect information on his enemies, and there were serious questions of how Mr. Goolsbee obtained this information. At first, the White House sent Politico an email explaining that the information was publicly available and referenced testimony to the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board and Koch’s own website.72 But they were just dead wrong. How much taxes Koch Industries pays appears in neither place. 
The Obama administration then switched to a second line of defense: that Mr. Goolsbee simply misspoke, that he didn’t mean to say what he said, and that it was merely a coincidence that he had just happened to guess their tax information.73 But it was quite a lucky guess. The IRS’s Inspector General promised to look into whether Goolsbee had illegally gotten confidential tax information,74 but a report was never released, and with Democrats in control of both the Senate and House at the time, there was no congressional pressure on the Obama administration to release the report.75  . . .

UPDATE: There is no public record of whether you are an S corp.  There is a public record if they are an LLC, but they can be set in various forms and that won't be public record.  They could also be a C corp and that wouldn't be public information.  Thus for Goolsbee to even know that they are an S corp or what version of being an LLC would be problematic.  Specifically on the point The Koch's lawyer had this point:

"contrary to the administration official's statement on what sources were used by the administration, neither the Koch website nor Forbes' list of private companies has information regarding Koch's tax filing status.  This is confidential information.  Given these facts, one must wonder why the White House is anonymously commenting on the confidential tax status of Koch Industries."

UPDATE: Here is another example of abuse.
”It is likely that someone at the Internal Revenue Service illegally leaked confidential donor information showing a contribution from Mitt Romney’s political action committee to the National Organization for Marriage, says the group.” . . .  
UPDATE: Fox News has this updated discussion on Goolsbee.  If the last paragraph in the quote below, it sounds as if many people in the Obama administration were in on this leak of IRS info.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney took some heat Tuesday after he told reporters that nobody in the Obama administration had targeted conservative groups in the past.  
Many questioned the statement and pointed to a 2010 incident involving Austan Goolsbee, Obama’s former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers. Goolsbee told reporters on Aug. 27, 2010 that Koch Industries, a billion-dollar energy company run by the politically influential Koch brothers, paid no income taxes. 
The tax records of Koch Industries -- a private company – would not have been public information and therefore should not have been known to Goolsbee. At the time, the Obama team backpedaled and said the information was made public in two places – which turned out to be untrue. Then the Obama administration said Goolsbee had misspoken and that he had guessed the company’s confidential tax information. 
At the time, the IRS had promised to look into the Goolsbee gaffe but a report was never publicly released. 
A source familiar with the situation suggested to FoxNews.com Tuesday that Goolsbee’s comments were a “calculated” attempt by the administration to insert Koch’s name into his discussion about companies that don’t pay taxes. . . .
Rush Limbaugh had this extended discussion where a caller (me) brought up the Goolsbee example.
RUSH: To the phones. People been waiting patiently as always. Up first, John in Philadelphia. Hello, sir. Thank you for the call.
CALLER: Oh. Thank you very much. You know, I think this is a very important issue. This isn't the first time that the Obama administration has abused the IRS' powers. In 2010, at the same time they were going after the Tea Party, Austan Goolsbee -- the chairman of the president's council of economic advisers -- was using the IRS to go after the Koch brothers, probably somebody that they hated as much as the Tea Party. There was a press briefing where Goolsbee told the press how much money the Koch brothers have been paying in taxes. You know, at first they said that the information was "publicly available," and when that turned out not to be the case, the administration said, "Well, you know, he simply accidentally guessed the exact amount that they pay."
RUSH: You know, that's exactly right. I'd forgotten that, but you're exactly right. Austan Goolsbee did tell the press how little the Koch brothers were paying in taxes -- in his perspective, how little -- and there was no way he coulda known that.
CALLER: Right.
RUSH: Unless somebody at the IRS had shared the data with him.
CALLER: Right. This is cover-up by the Obama administration. The inspector general for the IRS was supposed to release a report on Goolsbee, and after the furor died down they kept on delaying it.
RUSH: Yeah.
CALLER: Eventually they just never released the report on Goolsbee. So this is one thing. If you want to go and show that this is a pattern -- you know, and Goolsbee's not just some low-level staff person. He was chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors. And the Obama administration should finally be forced to release the inspector general report on what Goolsbee knew and how he released that information.
RUSH: Well, technically it's not how he released it; how he got it. There's only one way he could know it, and that is if he was able to pick up the phone, call the IRS, and say, "Give me the numbers on the tax return for the Koch brothers and for Koch Industries," and if the IRS gave him the information, bammo! Major, major violation. And, you're right. They've tried to let the passage of time cause everybody to forget about it, because there have been events take place in subsequent days which have taken precedence.
Those events have caused everybody to forget about it. You didn't. You're exactly right.  . . . 

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Blogger Unknown said...

The IRS infractions were "low level?" think about this: the IRS is digitized; all written communications are released through an internal server. Questionnaires are digitized, which means there's a program for the development of ALL correspondence questionnaires, AND a corresponding program to receive and decipher the returned questionnaires. That means the structure of the IRS, using several offices and dozens (at least) of eyes and internal resources are brought to bare. And know that no server is updated without hands-on High Level management.
there can be no doubt Her Majesty, Corilius Sibilius! was right in that chain, directly, in the making of questionnaires that included asking (as well as the IRS asks) for "Detail the content of your member's prayers."

5/17/2013 11:51 PM  

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