In a move that many critics say reeked of suspicious timing, the IRS reportedly sent an agent to visit journalist Matt Taibbi’s home as he was on Capitol Hill testifying about his role in the release of damning internal Twitter documents.
The reporter faced a series of pointed questions from Democrats on the House Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government during his testimony earlier this month.
During the same hearing, however, Republican lawmakers expressed their support for his participation in the so-called “Twitter Files” saga that shed light on governmental overreach within the tech industry.
After news surfaced that an IRS agent appeared at Taibbi’s New Jersey home on the same day, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) reportedly sent a letter to the agency’s commissioner demanding more information about the situation.
According to media reports, the agent left a letter requesting that Taibbi contact the IRS concerning allegations related to identity theft that resulted in his 2018 and 2021 tax returns being rejected.
For his part, the reporter has declined to provide any additional information, asserting in a tweet that he preferred to wait until the agency responded to Jordan’s letter.
For those asking, I don’t want to comment on the IRS issue pending an answer to chairman @Jim_Jordan’s letter. I’m not worried for myself, but I did feel the Committee should be aware of the situation.
— Matt Taibbi (@mtaibbi) March 28, 2023
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) reacted to the situation by declaring that it “absolutely stinks to high heaven,” going on to assail the reputation of the IRS.
He asserted that the agency “has a troubling history of targeting the political enemies of Democrats,” adding: “The IRS should NEVER be in the business of harassing the American people.”
Twitter CEO Elon Musk also responded to the development, writing in response to a tweet by fellow Twitter Files journalist Michael Shellenberger that the situation seemed “very odd.”
The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board highlighted the perceived impropriety, asking in a recent piece when the IRS began sending agents to taxpayers’ homes unannounced.
“Typically, when the IRS challenges some part of a tax return, it sends a dunning letter. Or it might seek more information from the taxpayer or tax preparer,” the editorial added. “If the IRS wants to audit a return, it schedules a meeting at the agent’s office.”