This wasn’t the only thing that destroyed Christine O’Donnell’s candidacy but it helped begin a flood of malicious attacks that created the impression of a flailing candidate drowning in scandals and negative coverage.
More than two years after her upstart Senate campaign rocked the Delaware political world, Christine O’Donnell got an unexpected contact from a U.S. Treasury Department agent warning that her private tax records may have been breached.
“Ms. O’Donnell, this is Dennis Martel, special agent with the U.S. Department of Treasury in Baltimore, Md. … We received information that your personal federal tax info may have been compromised and may have been misused by an individual,” he said in the January message left on her cellphone.
For Ms. O’Donnell, the message immediately raised red flags.
On March 9, 2010, the day she revealed her plan to run for the Senate in a press release, a tax lien was placed on a house purported to be hers and publicized. The problem was she no longer owned the house. The IRS eventually blamed the lien on a computer glitch and withdrew it.
Now Mr. Martel, a criminal investigator for the Treasury Department’s inspector general for tax administration, was telling her that an official in Delaware state government had improperly accessed her records .
The IRS is a clearinghouse for highly sensitive personal information and in an age where the wall between government and politics no longer exists, it’s just a storehouse of information to be used for attack ads.
We have a pretty good idea that Mitt Romney’s tax information was illegally accessed for exactly these purposes.