The IRS opened an investigation into independent reporter Matt Taibbi the same day he published a “Twitter Files” report documenting efforts between the social media platform and federal intelligence agencies to censor dissenting voices online.
On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee sent a letter to IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel demanding all documents and communications related to the agency’s decision to launch an investigation into Taibbi. According to the letter, the IRS’s inquiry was initiated on Dec. 24, 2022 — the same day Taibbi released a bombshell report detailing collusion between Twitter and the federal government to silence online voices disapproved of by the regime.
“The IRS’s production shows that the IRS opened its examination of Mr. Taibbi’s 2018 tax return on December 24, 2022,” wrote Committee Chair and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio. “Not only was this date Christmas Eve and a Saturday, but it also happened to be three weeks after he published the first Twitter Files detailing government abuses and the same day that Mr. Taibbi published the ninth segment of the Twitter Files, detailing how federal government agencies ‘from the State Department to the Pentagon to the CIA’ coordinated to censor and coerce speech on various social media platforms.”
In his Dec. 24 report, based on “documents passed to Twitter by the FBI-led Foreign Influence Task Force,” Taibbi revealed Twitter “was receiving content recommendations in bulk from an array of federal agencies through the FBI, about a range of topics — from domestic extremist groups in the U.S. to … Joe Biden, and the energy company Burisma.” The report also showed that Twitter — along with Facebook and dozens of other tech-related firms — regularly attended FITF-led gatherings, where “companies often received an ‘OGA briefing,’ usually about foreign policy matters.”
According to Taibbi, OGA is often used as a euphemism for “intelligence services in general, or the CIA in particular.”
During his March 9 testimony before the House Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, Taibbi revealed the IRS had visited his home that same day, prompting Jordan to send a letter to the agency requesting information about its home visit. While the IRS produced some documents, those provided to the committee “raise more questions than they
answer,” according to Jordan.
“The IRS asserted to the Committee that it sent a letter to Mr. Taibbi on October 24, 2019—nine days after Mr. Taibbi filed his 2018 tax return—asking Mr. Taibbi to verify his return because it met identity theft criteria and could not be processed until he confirmed,” Jordan wrote. “The IRS alleged that it sent a second letter to Mr. Taibbi on March 23, 2020. However, according to Mr. Taibbi, neither he nor his accountant received either of these letters or any other notification that there was an issue with his 2018 tax return—that is, until the IRS conducted a field visit at Mr. Taibbi’s home three years later.”
Equally alarming, however, is the tactics with which the IRS used to dig up any dirt it could find on Taibbi. Jordan revealed that a month after opening its inquiry, the agent assigned to Taibbi’s case was instructed to perform an “extensive investigation,” which included “using publicly available search engines and commercial investigative software such as Anywho, Consumer Affairs, LexisNexis Accruint, and Google.” The documents provided to the committee also purportedly show the agency kept a “dossier” on Taibbi that included information such as his phone numbers, voter registration records, whether he had a concealed weapons permit, and whether he possessed a hunting or fishing license.
Taibbi’s Wikipedia page was also examined during the investigation.
Notably, the IRS documents acquired by Jordan reveal that Taibbi “did not owe the IRS anything,” but rather, “the IRS owed Mr. Taibbi a substantial refund.” The aforementioned documents do not, however, provide any information regarding “the IRS’s decision-making process to open a case against Mr. Taibbi, or to conduct a field visit at his home.”
Jordan is demanding the IRS forfeit any and all records related to the agency’s investigation into Taibbi no later than May 31.