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Response to reACTIONary (Reply #38)

Tue Apr 16, 2019, 11:56 AM

39. That's not the only case related to privacy/abortion

Also... there are plenty of court rulings like the ones that kept tax records out of FOIA coverage that were based on privacy grounds.

Interestingly - this was an earlier avenue in the attempt to get Trump's taxes. It was ruled on just a few months ago in Epic v. IRS by the DC Circuit.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) collects more than money. It acquires and maintains a reservoir of sensitive information about taxpayers. And time was, the President could—for any reason or no reason at all—order the IRS to make that sensitive information public. The arrangement worked out fine for decades. Then the Nixon administration compiled a list of political enemies and ordered the IRS to harass them. The resulting scandal prompted the Congress to enact sweeping legislation to protect taxpayer privacy. The Internal Revenue Code (IRC) now mandates that tax “[r]eturns and return information shall be confidential” unless they fall within one of the statute’s narrowly drawn exceptions. I.R.C. § 6103(a).

At first blush, the IRC stands in tension with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which vests the public with a broad right to access government records. 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(3)(A). One statute demands openness; the other privacy. But as we explain infra, the statutes work well together. Not all records are subject to FOIA requests. An agency need not disclose records “specifically exempted from disclosure by statute.” Id. § 552(b)(3). Because the IRC is such a statute, records that fall within its confidentiality mandate are exempt from FOIA.

This case presents the question whether a member of the public—here, a nonprofit organization—can use a FOIA request to obtain an unrelated individual’s tax records without his consent. With certain limited exceptions—all inapplicable here—the answer is no. No one can demand to inspect another’s tax records. And the IRC’s confidentiality protections extend to the ordinary taxpayer and the President alike. Accordingly, we affirm the dismissal of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)’s lawsuit seeking President Donald J. Trump’s income tax records.


I'm not sure how we could hold the transfer of information already held by the government to another government entity

"Government" is not a single unified entity. The three branches are not just co-equal... they are independent. A transfer between branches is in no sense an internal transfer, and even those (e.g., between the IRS and the White House) are restricted.

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turbinetree Apr 2019 OP
C_U_L8R Apr 2019 #1
atreides1 Apr 2019 #7
Thomas Hurt Apr 2019 #2
SKKY Apr 2019 #3
FBaggins Apr 2019 #6
watoos Apr 2019 #9
FBaggins Apr 2019 #13
WhoWoodaKnew Apr 2019 #28
FBaggins Apr 2019 #31
flyingfysh Apr 2019 #12
FBaggins Apr 2019 #14
reACTIONary Apr 2019 #23
reACTIONary Apr 2019 #22
FBaggins Apr 2019 #32
stopwastingmymoney Apr 2019 #33
FBaggins Apr 2019 #35
reACTIONary Apr 2019 #37
reACTIONary Apr 2019 #38
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FBaggins Apr 2019 #39
reACTIONary Apr 2019 #40
FBaggins Apr 2019 #41
reACTIONary Apr 2019 #42
Clarity2 Apr 2019 #4
ProudMNDemocrat Apr 2019 #5
Gothmog Apr 2019 #8
Zoonart Apr 2019 #27
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DallasNE Apr 2019 #15
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FBaggins Apr 2019 #34
stopwastingmymoney Apr 2019 #36
forgotmylogin Apr 2019 #17
duforsure Apr 2019 #18
marble falls Apr 2019 #21
Mc Mike Apr 2019 #25
shanny Apr 2019 #26
DetlefK Apr 2019 #29
dalton99a Apr 2019 #30
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