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Does the White House have Koch Industries tax information?

In an episode that may be reminiscent of Richard Nixon and his use of government agencies to harass his opponents, the Obama administration has singled out a major American company and its tax returns for criticism. In the process, the Obama administration may have crossed a line, as did Nixon and his disgraced administration.

Here’s what The Weekly Standard is reporting today:

… 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 tax. Some of which are really giant firms, you know Koch Industries is a multibillion dollar businesses.

The full article is at Koch Industries Lawyer to White House: How Did You Get Our Tax Information?

So far it’s not known whether this revelation about Koch Industries and its taxes is accurate, or whether the information was obtained improperly. John McCormack, the author of the article, raises these two questions: “Why won’t White House officials say if the quotation about Koch Industries is accurate — or even if a transcript of the briefing exists? And, if the quotation is accurate, why won’t they say how the White House obtained tax information on Koch Industries?”

Recently President Barack Obama criticized Americans for Prosperity. (AFP was founded by David H. Koch, who is executive vice president and a board member of Koch Industries. He is chairman of the board of directors of Americans for Prosperity Foundation.)

Criticism of AFP is fair — even if the president’s criticisms are baseless and unfounded — as AFP operates in the political arena. AFP is critical of President Obama’s policies, and it’s only natural that he would strike back.

But tax returns — both personal and corporate — are supposed to be confidential and not used for political purposes.

Update: The Weekly Standard reports that it was Austan Goolsbee who named Koch Industries. Goolsbee was just named Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers.

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