“Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you,” Joseph Heller wrote in Catch-22. And Matt Taibbi has every reason to be paranoid, The journalist has spent his career reporting on some of the most powerful entities on earth, often exposing stories they’d rather keep out of public view. As the most prominent reporter involved in the Twitter Files, Taibbi has already attracted the wrath of many of Elon Musk’s critics in politics and media. Now it seems the government itself is paying attention.
According to Taibbi, an IRS agent showed up at his home the very day that he was testifying before Congress on revelations about Twitter to the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government. At issue are his 2018 and 2021 tax returns — the former of which had already been electronically accepted, and the latter which shows the IRS owes Taibbi a good deal of money.
This seems far too odd to be a coincidence. Typically, these types of matters are handled via letters and phone calls, not house calls. House Judiciary chairman Jim Jordan is demanding answers in a letter to the head of the IRS and Treasury secretary Janet Yellen. President Joe Biden should echo these concerns. It would be an easy lay-up to demonstrate that he’s not on the side of singling out taxpayers for abuse based on where they exist on the political spectrum.
Americans have lost so much faith in our institutions of government in part because we fear these supposedly neutral entities operate as partisan activists. In the past decade, Tea Party-related groups were targeted aggressively by the IRS, which pored over tax returns and applications for non-profit status, clearly seeking ways to harm their ability to organize. Targeting individuals over their personal work and views has been done before, and could be happening again. With a massively increased IRS budget incoming, Americans should be mindful that they could turn up next on the list.