The National Organization for Marriage is asking the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate and prosecute the individuals responsible for leaking the organization’s confidential U.S. tax return and then illegally publishing it.
The stolen tax return was first published by the Human Rights Campaign and subsequently the Huffington Post. HRC is led by Joe Solmonese, who also serves as a co-chairman of President Obama’s reelection committee.
In an April 25 letter to Kathryn Keneally, assistant attorney general for DOJ’s tax division, NOM President Brian Brown and Chairman John C. Eastman request an immediate investigation “to identify the person(s) responsible for these illegal actions.” (View the letter.)
Brown will provide an update on the brewing scandal at The Bloggers Briefing. Breitbart TV, in partnership with The Heritage Foundation, will air it live today at noon ET.
NOM’s confidential tax return was first disclosed by the Human Rights Campaign and Huffington Post on March 30 in an attempt to expose the group’s donors. Publication of the material is a felony, punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and/or imprisonment for up the five years.
An investigation by NOM revealed the documents came directly from the Internal Revenue Service rather than a “whistleblower,” as HRC claimed. NOM used a computer program to remove a layer from the file, which attempted to obscure its source. Once that layer was removed, markings used only by the IRS were visible.
A spokesman for the IRS said the agency was already investigating the matter. “IRS takes this confidentiality of return information very seriously,” spokesman Dean Patterson told The Daily Caller. “Any allegations of improper disclosures of taxpayer information are investigated by the Treasury Inspector General.”
While that investigation progresses, NOM wants the Department of Justice tax division to also investigate. It has responsibility for all criminal activity involving internal revenue laws.
The question is whether someone within the IRS deliberately and illegally obtained the tax return or if a breach happened from an external source.
HRC quietly removed the tax form within a day of NOM’s attorneys contacting the organization. The Huffington Post, however, still has a copy on its website despite NOM’s request to remove it. Neither organization responded to inquiries for comment.
Under federal law, both HRC and Huffington Post could be punished for their actions. That’s a point NOM emphasized in its letter to the Department of Justice:
NOM hereby respectfully requests an immediate and thorough investigation into this matter in order to determine (1) whether an officer or employee of the United States is responsible for the unlawful release of NOM’s 2008 Schedule B and should be prosecuted; (2) whether the source of the breach was through violation of the IRS’s electronic data systems; and (3) how HRC, the Huffington Post, and others obtained NOM’s 2008 Schedule B and their role in stealing NOM’s confidential donor information and whether they, or any of them, should be prosecuted for their violation of federal law.
Brown will share more information on the scandal at today’s Bloggers Briefing. The briefing was founded in May 2006 as a weekly policy discussion for bloggers, online journalists and digital strategists.
Also on today’s agenda:
- The Heritage Foundation’s Emily Goff and Romina Boccia will unveil the 2012 edition of Federal Budget in Pictures, which offers a convenient embed code for each of the 46 charts.
- Brandon Millett, co-founder and president of the GI Film Festival, will preview this year’s event, which runs May 14-20 at the Naval Heritage Center in Washington, D.C.
- Richard Manning from Americans for Limited Government will share an update on the organization’s viral hit, “If I wanted America to fail,” and the next steps for Free Market America.