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Tipsheet

Here's What Tipped Off an Ex-Rolling Stone Reporter That the IRS Probe Into Him Was Unusual

Former Rolling Stone contributing editor and reporter Matt Taibbi has been branded a persona non grata by his colleagues. As we’ve noted many times here, Taibbi isn’t a conservative, not even close. He’s very much a proud liberal but eschews political correctness and the woke ideology that he rightfully sees chills discussion. He’s also an original Trump-Russia collusion skeptic, which was finally exposed as a hoax by the newly-released Durham Report. Taibbi’s review of Twitter's internal documents after Elon Musk's purchase exposed a sordid web of manipulation and censorship, which brought the media giant and the FBI into an unholy alliance that sought to influence public opinion. The lengthy stories on this investigation drove progressives insane and led to the former magazine reporter being smeared as a right-wing conspiracy theorist. 

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A quick Google search of Taibbi’s work would show the opposite, but in today’s Democratic Party, disagreeing on one issue lands you in the gulag. Taibbi recently detailed his run-in with the Internal Revenue Service on his Substack, where he found the peculiars surrounding his case unorthodox and serious. Katie wrote about this in April after Taibbi refused to reveal his sources during his March 9 testimony before Congress. 

First, the IRS had a full dossier on him, which included whether he had hunting and concealed carry permits. That’s when he knew this was a serious inquiry. Second, he had no clue that his 2018 tax return had discrepancies. He was never contacted about it, but someone on Christmas Eve last year went into the IRS building and opened an investigation on the reporter (via Matt Taibbi/Racket News): 

Saturday, December 24, 2022 was one of the most memorable, and most panicked, days of my life. I spent Christmas Eve last year alone, holed up in the Parc 55 hotel in San Francisco, frantically trying to put together what I thought was the most explosive of the Twitter Files reports, “Twitter and Other Government Agencies.” My wife and children were due to arrive for Christmas the next day, and I spent the morning checking and re-checking a story I knew might make people upset. 

It was based on documents passed to Twitter by the FBI-led Foreign Influence Task Force. They showed the company 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 leftist activists in Venezuela to Ukraine, Joe Biden, and the energy company Burisma. Moreover, Twitter was joining Facebook, Microsoft, Verizon, Reddit, and perhaps two dozen other firms in attending regular FITF-led gatherings. At that “industry meeting,” companies often received an “OGA briefing,” usually about foreign policy matters. “OGA” is generally understood to be a euphemism for intelligence services in general, or the CIA in particular. 

[…] 

My case probably has to be added to that pile now. At first I thought it might be legitimate, as there was an unresolved issue involving my 2021 return, one I thought I might have let get out of hand across a winter of not checking mail while working a lot on the West Coast. The initial note the IRS left on my door instructed me not to call for four days, a tactic I later heard was sometimes used by field agents to rattle taxpayers, but usually in more serious cases. 

It wasn’t until I finally spoke to the agent on my case, and was told that one of two issues was a claim that my 2018 electronic return had been rejected out of concern it “had characteristics indicating a possible identity theft,” that I got nervous. Not only did I not recall ever receiving a notice about 2018, but it seemed very unlikely. I’d been using the same reputable New York accounting firm for a decade, and when I asked them about this, they immediately produced documents showing the IRS electronically accepting that year’s return. 

[…] 

…neither I nor my accountants recall ever receiving letters about that year at all, Mr. Jordan wrote today, “The IRS also failed to produce these purported letters to the Committee.” Moreover: 

The IRS’s production, however, lacks any indication of the IRS’s decision-making process to open a case against Mr. Taibbi, or to conduct a field visit at his home. 

What possible legitimate explanation could there be for someone at the IRS logging on, on the afternoon of Christmas Eve, on a Saturday, to assign a case over a three-year-old matter, involving a taxpayer owed a substantial return? Was the state in a hurry to square its books with me? What supervisor was overcome with that itch on that particular day, and why? 

[…] 

Readers of this site know that when Michael Shellenberger and I testified to the House Weaponization of Government Subcommittee on March 9th…the angering material is what Michael and I were fortunate enough to be asked to testify about. As Michael put it, the U.S. is funding organizations that engage in mass information control by “creating blacklists of disfavored people and then pressuring, cajoling, and demanding that social media platforms censor, deamplify, and even ban the people on these blacklists.” My testimony aligned with the Christmas Eve story… 

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The “angering material” was a reference to the evidence Taibbi and Shellenberger, another liberal, presented to the committee, which sent the subcommittee’s Democratic members into a tailspin, with its ranking member, Del. Stacey Plaskett (D-VI) threatening to throw Taibbi into prison for lying to Congress. He didn’t. It’s a throwback to 2013 when the IRS was engulfed in a targeting scandal concerning conservative non-profits filing for tax-exempt status. With Democrats in charge and the revelations that the FBI illegally spied on Trump’s associates and greenlit the Russian collusion probe without evidence, are you shocked that IRS agents were sicced upon Taibbi for airing out Twitter’s dirty laundry with the Feds? It sure looks like the IRS is trying to find a way to jail, Mr. Taibbi.

The independent journalist closed with this question while thanking Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) for all his assistance in asking for more information regarding the IRS case against Taibbi. 

"For the journalists who want to roll eyes," wrote Taibbi, "I’d ask: why is he the one defending reporters, while so many news organizations have stopped?"

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