“So, the use of tax data by ProPublica and its source to make a policy point isn’t exactly groundbreaking. Some of the agents and politicians who weaponized the IRS in the past intended to make the world a better place by their lights, or at least to hurt only people and organizations they were convinced were bad. And leaks from government agencies often do achieve beneficial ends. Where would we be without Daniel Ellsberg’s copies of the Pentagon Papers, Mark Felt’s role as “Deep Throat” in the Watergate scandal, or Edward Snowden’s revelations of government surveillance?
But leaks from the IRS aren’t war plans, misuses of power, or politicians’ schemes; they’re sensitive, private financial information that we’re forced to surrender to government agents. We have no choice but to fill out our tax forms even though we know that the federal employees receiving our information have a track record of abusing that data for their own ends and to our detriment.”