WASHINGTON -- In a very clever year-end column the venerable William Safire writing in the New York Times asks whether "special prosecutor David Barrett's 400-page expose of political influence within the Internal Revenue Service and the Clinton Justice Department" will be the government report "most likely to resist investigative reporting" this year. I certainly hope not. The misuse of the IRS and Justice Department has a long record going back to Richard Nixon and Watergate and before that to Franklin Roosevelt and his harassment of former Secretary of the Treasury Andrew Mellon and publisher Moses Annenberg. Wealthy individuals such as Mellon and Annenberg can protect themselves -- though Annenberg was cruelly sent to jail. Ordinary citizens cannot, and the way the IRS is set up today, not much provocation is necessary to instigate a costly investigation … costly to ordinary taxpayers.
People familiar with the Barrett Report claim that during his investigation of former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Henry Cisneros, Barrett came across illegal IRS and Justice Department activity in the Clinton years that involved corruption and infringements on the civil liberties of private citizens. A whistle-blower in the IRS, John Filan, delivered up an 18-page blueprint sketching out the illegal activities and perhaps identifying the victims. Sources claim it contains some of the most illuminating revelations of IRS misconduct ever. Lawyers at the Clintons' ever-reliable Washington firm of Williams and Connolly have bottled the report up since it was finished in August of 2004. Democrats and a couple of incompetent Republicans have seen to it that the report is gutted. This month, the gutted report will be made public. The date is Jan. 19. Safire seems to want investigative journalists to get the rest of the report out. Frankly, I would like to see our elected legislators on Capitol Hill get the whole, unredacted report out.