Delaware Officials Admit Snooping on Taxpayer, Won't Say if it was Christine O'Donnell

Saturday, 20 Jul 2013 08:15 PM

By Greg Richter

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Christine O'Donnell announced her run for U.S. Senate in March of 2010, coincidentally the same month that a Delaware state tax investigator accessed a state resident's federal tax records for "routine purposes," according to the head of the state's tax agency.

“A state Division of Revenue investigator accessed records on or after March 20, 2010 following information that came to the attention of the division,” Patrick Carter told The Washington Times in a statement, declining to identify the taxpayer involved. “The record access led the state revenue investigator to conclude there was no basis for further state investigation of a taxpayer and no action was taken by the state Division of Revenue against the taxpayer.”

Tax officials won't say whether O'Donnell, a tea party Republican candidate who went on to lose the election to Democrat Chris Coons, was targeted by that tax official. But O'Donnell told the publication she was contacted by a federal Treasury official who told her that her tax records might have been improperly accessed by a tax official.

O'Donnell says she was not told why her records were accessed, and the probe was subsequently dropped.

Also on March 9, 2010, the Internal Revenue Service filed a lien on a home O'Donnell had formerly owned. The IRS later said the lien was placed in error.

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration is set to interview O'Donnell "soon," Politico reports, quoting an aid to Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa. who said O'Donnell asked Grassley's staff to help her look into the issue because she believed she was the victim of political intimidation.

"We’re now talking about an individual candidate — not just the tax exempt and government entities unit, so it would be a broader concern if it turns out that there was something fishy going on,” the Grassley aide told Politico.

The action would have taken place at the same time tea party groups were being targeted by the IRS for extra scrutiny, and the lien could have hurt O'Donnell's race because she campaigned on fiscal responsibility, only to have opponents make an issue of the lien.

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