Matt Taibbi, the journalist turned Twitter sleuth, says Jim Jordan and GOP lawmakers on Capitol Hill have taken his comments about the Internal Revenue Service out of context.
Taibbi, an author who has written for Rolling Stone magazine and other publications, has become a lightning rod on Capitol Hill over his testimony before the House government weaponization subcommittee headed by Jordan.
Taibbi testified before the committee on March 9, where he revealed the IRS paid an “unannounced” visit to his home allegedly to search for copies of his 2018 and 2021 tax returns
With that, Jordan was off and running accusing the IRS of trying to “intimidate” a witness. Right wing media jumped on Jordan’s claims and have amped up allegations the Biden administration is behind the move.
But in a brief Twitter exchange with The New York Independent, Taibbi said he never said he was being persecuted.
“All I did was tell the Committee the IRS visited my home. They eventually explained their visit by mail, details of which I then told the committee and they included in their letter. I said nothing about being persecuted, and made no charge at all,” he wrote.
Although, by Taibbi’s account, Jordan has the full details on the IRS visit, the Ohio Republican has continued to press, now apparently baseless allegations, that the IRS was trying to intimidate a congressional witness.
Jordan has demanded the IRS produce copies of documents related to its search of journalist Matt Taibbi’s home on the day he testified before the weaponization subcommittee, according to media reports.
The Independent’s Twitter exchange with the journalist began with a request for Taibbi to make his taxes public to clear up the matter.
“Excuse me? What the hell is that?” he replied, then, protested because his name was spelled wrong.
The exchange touched off a Twitter storm.
“Why did you let Jordan send his accusatory letter since you admit the IRS is/was acting in good faith? If you weren’t home, how do you know IRS came? Why won’t you release & post the “IRS note” that Jordan wrote they left you?” said one commenter (@brohamthis).
“Why did you tell the Committee if not to imply political motivation?” wrote another (@bindlestaff).
Another writer (@jazzRadio) summed up the situation with an analogy:
“Ah, there we have it. The absurdity finally rears it’s head.”
“Someone said you’re eating kittens in the basement. In fact, sir, you have a basement. We need transparency on the whole kitten-eating thing. What are you hiding?”
The exchange also generated a right-wing bot swarm in Taibbi’s defense.
Some media reports claim the IRS searched his New Jersey home, because there was some concern about “identity theft.”
But IRS agents rarely make home visits unless it involves a serious matter and would not have the right to search for any documents without Taibbi’s permission or a search warrant approved by a judge.
House Republicans have been leading efforts to investigate the alleged “weaponization” of federal agencies under the Biden administration. The House voted In a 221-211 along partisan lines in January to launch the subcommittee.
It consists of 11 Republicans, and eight Democrats. Its main targets are reportedly the FBI’s role in censoring conservatives on social media and the Department of Justice’s various investigations into Donald Trump.
Taibbi entered the picture when newly minted Twitter owner Elon Musk spoon fed him hundreds of internal documents, mostly emails, that focused mainly on Democratic efforts to block or remove right-wing comments.
The emails turned out to be only a portion of the documents in the social media sites files and those detailing Trump administration efforts to block or remove Tweets were excluded.
In one instance that went viral, the Trump administration tried to have a Tweet by celebrity Chrissy Teigen taken down because she called Trump a “pussy ass bitch.”
Despite repeated promises for more transparency, Musk hasn’t done any other email dumps or made files available to other journalists.
Meanwhile, the weaponization committee has suffered a series of misfires.
“Jordan’s panel has barely begun its work, but early indications suggest it will regurgitate a variety of right-wing conspiracy theories, some of them so convoluted that one would have to binge Fox News to make sense of them,” wrote Joshua Zeitz in Politico.
The supposed Taibbi claim gave Jordan and his fellow Republicans something to grab on, but apparently they are just grasping for straws.