The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse has been a great source of independent information on how government agencies are doing their jobs — looking behind the self-serving spin in the agency reports and doing their own analyses of the data.
For example, every time the IRS puts out a press release about how it’s getting tougher, auditing more people, and isn’t gonna be taken for a sucker no more no how, TRAC crunches the numbers and puts out its own release saying that as far as they can see, the IRS is the same paper tiger it’s been for years. (For example, see , and .)
The IRS, naturally, would like to figure out a way to get this pesky child to stop pointing out the nudity of the emperor. They think they’ve finally found the solution in that universal solvent of transparency in government — the War on Terror:
The Internal Revenue Service is illegally withholding information about its operations, claiming without substantiation that some of the unclassified information would compromise homeland security if released to the public, according to a federal lawsuit filed by the Public Citizen Litigation Group on behalf of open-government scholars.
The lawsuit is part of an ongoing effort by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) to obtain statistical information from the IRS about enforcement actions. Reversing 30 years of policy, the IRS under the Bush administration has stonewalled requests for public disclosure of such information.