(Herndon, Virginia) Landmark Legal Foundation filed a formal complaint today with the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility ("OPR") requesting an immediate investigation into the conduct of the government lawyers responsible for disclosing the identities of scores of taxpayers in public court filings. (United States v. KPMG LLP.) Landmark contends that the Tax Division attorneys responsible for the release of the taxpayers’ identities did so in contravention of Section 6103 of the Internal Revenue Code, relevant IRS regulations, and Justice Department guidelines.
Among the taxpayers identified by the Tax Division attorneys is William E. Simon, Jr., the Republican gubernatorial candidate in California. The lead Tax Division attorney challenging KPMG’s tax shelter advice is Stuart D. Gibson -- a Democratic Party activist in Virginia.
Mark R. Levin, Landmark’s president, declared: "The IRS is disputing KPMG’s tax advice to certain of its clients. The public release of the taxpayers’ identities was not only gratuitous, but likely unlawful. It’s critical that the IRS and Justice Department keep taxpayer information confidential and avoid even the appearance of political partisanship. OPR must take immediate steps to reassure the public that it will comply with taxpayer privacy rights."
Landmark litigated against the IRS for 5 years for information about politically motivated audits against non-profit organizations. The IRS and the Tax Division insisted in that litigation that federal law prohibited the release of any tax return information, including the identity of third parties requesting audits of non-profit organizations and the identity of the targeted organizations.
Levin added: "The IRS can’t have it both ways. Either there are broad protections of privacy or there are not. It is not free to abuse those protections when it serves its purposes and to intimidate taxpayers."
Landmark is a public interest legal group with offices in Herndon, Virginia and Kansas City, Missouri.
Landmark’s OPR complaint is posted on its website:www.landmarklegal.org. Landmark is a public interest legal group with offices in Herndon, Virginia and Kansas City, Missouri.