Representative Jim Jordan (R., Ohio) sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner Daniel Werfel demanding an explanation as to why the agency deployed federal agents to visit “Twitter Files” journalist Matt Taibbi.
Jordan, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, sent the notice on Monday requesting more information on the timing and circumstances of the raid on Taibbi’s house in New Jersey on March 9.
Federal agents were dispatched to Taibbi’s residence the very same day that the investigative journalist appeared before the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, also chaired by Representative Jordan.
According to the letter, first obtained by the Wall Street Journal, Taibbi notified Jordan that the IRS instructed him to phone the federal agency four days later, and he was later told that both his 2018 and 2021 tax filings were requested because of “concerns over identity theft.”
Taibbi shared his 2018 tax submission with the Select Committee, which showed that his filing was “electronically accepted” and that no problem was registered with the return for “more than four-and-a-half years,” the Journal editorial notes.
While Taibbi’s initial 2021 return was rejected twice despite his accountant using an “IRS-provided pin number.” Taibbi added that the issue at stake is not “monetary” and that the federal agency actually owes him a “considerable” amount of money.
During Taibbi’s visit to Capitol Hill, Representative Stacey Plaskett (D., V.I.) denounced the former Rolling Stones journalist as a threat.
“Mr. Chairman, I am not exaggerating when I say that you have called before you two witnesses who pose a direct threat to people who oppose them.” When Jordan laughed at this comment, Plaskett replied, “It’s funny when people have to go through that? This is unacceptable.”
Plaskett derided Taibbi as a “so-called journalist” and repeatedly insisted that there was no “real evidence” publicized in the Twitter Files showing coordination between the federal government and the social-media platform.
“Ranking Member Plaskett, I’m not a so-called journalist,” Taibbi countered. “I’ve won the National Magazine Award, the I.F. Stone Award for Independent Journalism, and I’ve written ten books, including four New York Times best sellers.”
Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D., Fl.) engaged in a similar line of hostile questioning.
“Being a Republican witness today certainly casts a cloud over your objectivity.”
“Elon Musk spoon-fed you his cherry-picked information, which you must have suspected promotes a slanted viewpoint or, at the very least, generates a right-wing conspiracy theory. You violated your own standards, and you appear to have benefitted from it,” the Florida representative told Taibbi.
Just ahead of testifying, Taibbi released a new installment of the Twitter Files revealing that the social-media company had established a “Censorship-Industrial Complex” whereby agencies such as the FBI and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and NGOs including the Atlantic Council and National Endowment for Democracy regularly consulted with the social-media platform in an effort to censor or downplay posts they found objectionable.
According to the communications obtained by Taibbi, much of which he has published in the Twitter Files, Twitter had a policy of censoring even information that it accepted as true if that info had a chance of inducing “vaccine hesitancy” among readers.