I'm a little confused about the <$Ad$>current explanation of the origins of the Legislative Provision Formerly Known as Istook (LPFKI).
Sen. Frist originally said it was inserted by Rep. Istook. The Times reported yesterday that Istook "was responsible for the insertion of the tax provision in the 3,000-page, $388 billion legislation."
And in his statement yesterday Istook appeared to concede this, while asserting that the actual language was drafted by personnel from the IRS.
Today, however, Rep. Istook seems to be saying that he had no involvement in the matter whatsoever. From his statement this morning ...
"I want to reiterate what I said on Sunday, namely that this was not my language. I then spent most of the day tracking down what happened.
"I had nothing to do with inserting this language. I never knew what was happening until it was done. Had I known, I would have intervened to omit or to fix this provision.
"I didn't write it; I didn't approve it; I wasn't even consulted. My name shouldn't be associated with it, because I had nothing to do with it, and didn't even know about it until after the bill was done and was filed."
Now, I'm not trying to be nettlesome or willfully dense. But even if we take as granted the basic outlines of the current account (namely, that Appropriations committee staffers wanted some language empowering oversight and folks at IRS wrote it too broadly), something seems missing.
Somone on the committee wanted more oversight power or wanted that power more clearly defined in legislation and asked the IRS for the appropriate language. Was that not Istook or one of his staffers?
In his statement
Istook seems to suggest [but murkily] that "appropriations [committee] staff" had the language put in and that he, as chairman of the relevant subcommittee was "bypassed."
If he and his staff had nothing to do with it, who did exactly? And what did they tell the folks at the IRS that they wanted? Because clearly the language is specifically written to allow inspection of tax returns without reference to existing privacy laws.
Is the LPFKI really not tied to Rep. Istook in any way?
And isn't it about time someone talked to whomever at the IRS provided the language?