WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, led an effort to press the Justice Department and FBI for details about any investigation into the disclosure of sensitive taxpayer records to the news media. Joining his letter to the Justice Department and FBI are Judiciary Committee colleagues U.S. Senators John Cornyn, R-Texas, Mike Lee, R-Utah, Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Ben Sasse, R-Neb., Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and Thom Tillis, R-N.C.
“The self-reporting nature of our system of taxation makes it vitally important that taxpayers have trust that their personal information will be treated respectfully and confidentially as they comply with our nation’s tax laws. In return, the government must protect their records to maintain that trust. The Internal Revenue Code places such high importance on taxpayer privacy that criminal and civil penalties are specifically identified for the unauthorized access or disclosure of that information,” the senators wrote.
The senators sought details on the scope of the unauthorized access of confidential taxpayer information, whether a possible breach originated at the IRS and whether it was the result of an external hack or a deliberate leak from within the agency. Further, the senators inquire about the timing of any possible breach, when the government became aware of it and steps being taken to protect any investigation from political pressure.
Grassley previously joined similar inquiries to the Treasury Department’s inspector general for tax administration regarding the breach, and joined Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and Finance Committee Ranking Member Mike Crapo in expressing frustration of the breach of taxpayer trust.
Text of the letter to the Justice Department and FBI follows:grassley_et_al.todojfbiirsrecordsdisclosure