Josh Marshall has helped reveal that it was Oklahoma Congressman Ernest Istook who requested a provision in a huge omnibus spending bill that would allow Chairmen of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees review any taxpayer’s income tax returns, without restriction.
CNN is now heading its news page with this imbroglio over this tax return scandal, but as Marshall notes on his website, the CNN piece leaves out Istook’s name.
The actual language from the bill is:
Hereinafter, notwithstanding any other provision of law governing the disclosure of income tax returns or return information, upon written request of the Chairman of the House or Senate Committee on Appropriations, the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service shall allow agents designated by such Chairman access to Internal Revenue Service facilities and any tax returns or return information contained therein.
Istook represents Oklahoma’s 5th District — and has offices in Shawnee, Seminole and Oklahoma City.
My family is from Bartlesville, in the First District, represented by conservative Congressmn John Sullivan — whose banner headline running at the top of his site is that “Sullivan Stands Against Federal Courts’ Abuse of Power.”
Sullivan is proud of defending marriage against big government, privacy invading, power-mongering courts, but what about power-mongering members of his own party and Oklahoma state caucus who are enhancing the powers of government and confining the rights and privacy of this nation’s citizens?
I know Oklahoma conservatives, and assisting big, powerful government is about as anti-conservative as one can get. Are Oklahomans going to wake up and realize that Istook is no longer one of them?
I imagine that Istook and his staffers are going to come up with an excuse for all of this that sounds accidental — but seriously, we should have higher standards for legislators and legislating than tripping through the process with such privacy-killing errors.
We have a hard enough time with what the majority party wants to do legislatively — when it’s doing it on purpose.
— Steve Clemons