Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen oversees the IRS but consistently feigns ignorance of IRS malfeasance. Last week she claimed not to know anything about the stolen IRS files published by ProPublica nearly two years ago. And now this week she said she didn’t even know about a high-profile incident wherein the IRS paid a home visit to a journalist investigating government abuses while he testified before congress.
While testifying before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs on Wednesday, Yellen was asked about the unannounced, unprompted IRS home visit to independent journalist Matt Taibbi on the same day Taibbi testified in front of the House Committee on Weaponization of the Federal Government.
Yellen was questioned by Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah) about the home visit. Yellen claimed to not even be aware of the incident:
CONGRESSMAN CHRIS STEWART (R-Utah): “A couple of weeks ago we had a journalist before us, Matt Taibbi, who by the way is not a conservative, he is an independent journalist but is known to be progressive, to the left not to the right. And during the few hours that he’s appearing before Congress, an IRS agent appears at his home and leaves him a note. Are you familiar with this? Are you aware of this?”
JANET YELLEN: “No, I’m not.”
STEWART: “It’s been well reported and I could tell you more details but here it is: a journalist is appearing before Congress to talk about the weaponization of the federal government and during that time an IRS agent goes to his home. I gotta tell you, I have never heard of an IRS agent making appearances at someone’s home. Short of them being under investigation for fraud. Or to want to be questioned for fraud.
“And I would ask: You’re an economist, you’re a mathematician, what are the chances of that being just luck that the IRS appeared at someone’s home while he’s testifying about the weaponization of the federal government before Congress? Cause I think it’s minuscule, I think it’s one in a million or less. And you weren’t aware of that and now I told you about it, I need to ask you, as direct oversight of the IRS, does that bother you?”
YELLEN: “It’s certainly something I would want to look into. I’m not aware that IRS agents do that except as you said in cases where there’s an investigation for law breaking that’s underway.”
Yes, it is certainly something you should look into, Secretary Yellen. Let’s hope that any “investigation” of the Taibbi incident doesn’t end up in a black hole like the one into the theft and subsequent leak of taxpayer files to the progressive organization, ProPublica.
The White House also declined to comment on the matter this week. When questioned on it by a reporter, John Kirby said: “I’m afraid I’m going to have to refer you to the IRS on that.”
Taibbi in 2018 was praised by Bernie Sanders for his fearless investigative journalism: “Matt Taibbi is one of the few journalists in America who speaks truth to power.”
But the moment Taibbi’s investigative work became inconvenient for Democrats, they questioned his journalistic credentials in a congressional hearing about government abuse.
During that hearing, the IRS paid a little visit to his home.
Video of Yellen’s statement can be found here and below.