The Corner

Did the White House War on Koch Industries Go Too Far?

Here’s John McCormack, reporting that the White House may have unlawfully revealed tax information about Koch Industries — a recent target of both the White House and the New Yorker for their political activities — in an on-record press-briefing:

While the attention is unwanted for the Kochs, if somewhat expected, a lawyer for Koch Industries now tells THE WEEKLY STANDARD that the administration may have crossed a line by revealing tax information about Koch Industries. According to Mark Holden, senior vice president and general counsel of Koch Industries, a senior Obama administration official told reporters at an August 27 on-the-record background briefing on corporate taxes:

 

So in this country we have partnerships, we have S corps, we have LLCs, we have a series of entities that do not pay corporate income taxSome of which are really giant firms, you know Koch Industries is a multibillion dollar businesses. So that creates a narrower base because we’ve literally got something like 50 percent of the business income in the U.S. is going to businesses that don’t pay any corporate income tax. They point out [in the report] you could review the boundary between corporate and non-corporate taxation as a way to broaden the base.

 

Holden tells THE WEEKLY STANDARD that this quotation from a senior administration official “came to our attention from different avenues.  We are very concerned about why this would be said about us, particularly in this setting.  We are concerned where this information would have been obtained from. We also are concerned in light of recent events that we have been singled out by the government and others as a campaign against us because of our political views.”

Why would this be illegal? Here’s Koch SVP/General Counsel Holden:

“I’m not accusing any one of any illegal conduct. But it’s my understanding that under federal law, tax information, is confidential and it’s not to be disclosed or obtained by individuals except under limited circumstances. … I don’t know what [the senior administration official] was referring to. I’m not sure what he’s saying. I’m not sure what information he has. But if he got this information–confidential tax information–under the internal revenue code … if he obtained it in a way that was inappropriate, that would be unlawful. But I don’t know that that’s the case.”

The White House hasn’t answered requests for comment.

Daniel FosterDaniel Foster is a former news editor of National Review Online.

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