Records of O'Donnell Tax Search Likely Destroyed

Image: Records of O'Donnell Tax Search Likely Destroyed

Wednesday, 24 Jul 2013 11:58 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Computer records showing when and how often the personal tax records of tea party-backed Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell were accessed by Delaware state officials likely were destroyed, state officials admit, acknowledging that they used a newspaper article as sole justification into looking at her tax history.

The Treasury Department's inspector general for tax administration, which has reopened its investigation into the matter, questioned O'Donnell on Tuesday, according to The Washington Times.

Editor's Note: Tiny Loophole Found in 70,320 Page IRS Tax Code Could Pay $87,500

Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, a member of the Judiciary and Finance committees, said he's concerned after Delaware officials told his staff that a state investigator asked his boss for permission to access O'Donnell's tax records after reading a newspaper article concerning a civil lien.

Grassley says he is concerned that the official used the newspaper article — which did not allege criminal wrongdoing on O'Donnell's part — to seek her tax records, and said he wants more information about how the IRS plans to stop such investigations.

"The state says it looked at Ms. O'Donnell's federal records because of a newspaper article describing a federal tax lien against her," Grassley said. "Does the state look at every taxpayer who faces a federal lien or only those who happen to appear in a newspaper article? Is it routine for a state employee to email his boss about looking at a taxpayer's records on a Saturday, when the article appeared? It's hard to evaluate what happened in the O’Donnell case without answering these questions, and I'll continue to work to get more information."

Delaware officials told Grassley's staff they kept no computerized records to show when the tax records were accessed, because they keep such records only for three months.

Delaware officials say they believe the access occurred on March 20, 2010, after the newspaper story ran. But O'Donnell said investigators have told her the records were accessed on March 9, the same day she announced her Senate run and the same day the IRS admitted the lien against her was mistakenly generated by computer and sent to Delaware.

Last week, it was reported that the inspector general discovered at least four other cases in which tax information of a candidate or donor was searched.

California Republican Rep. Darrell E. Issa, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, said he does not understand why the Justice Department did not prosecute a government employee who knowingly accessed the records.

Editor's Note: Tiny Loophole Found in 70,320 Page IRS Tax Code Could Pay $87,500

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