McConnell Calls For “Actual Consequences” in Latest IRS Leak
‘[T]he federal government has proven far too often that it is, at best incapable, and at worst unwilling, to protect taxpayers’ data from misuse by the political left… every time a leak goes without serious investigation and criminal prosecution, basic public trust in our tax system suffers.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding the IRS leak:
“One week ago today, the personal financial information of several prominent Americans was made public in only the latest leak of sensitive data from the Internal Revenue Service.
“Or, to put it another way, it appears that an anonymous source committed a felony by releasing the confidential information of American citizens, which a media outlet then published.
“Now, the way this leak has been covered in the press may not suggest it, but the most alarming part isn’t whose information was involved. It’s how it was allowed to happen at all.
“The American people know that having the personal information they give to the IRS made public isn’t just a fear reserved for the highest earners. On multiple occasions in just the last decade, individuals and organizations alike have had to watch as their filing details wander far from the IRS’ databases.
“And it goes beyond pay stubs.
“The IRS holds massive stores of sensitive details, from healthcare expenses to retirement savings to charitable contributions. They hold addresses, information about dependents, and associations with organizations that may not be tax-deductible.
“Needless to say, there are good arguments for paring back the scope of what information this agency is allowed to collect in the first place.
“But here’s the bottom line:
“American taxpayers are required by law to comply with invasive disclosure requirements, and they’re doing it with less and less confidence that the federal government will honor their trust.
“A fundamental piece of our nation’s social contract is fraying. But just how worried you should be about it apparently depends on your personal politics.
“The precise circumstances of this latest leak have not yet been made clear, but the recent history of IRS negligence and outright political targeting tells conservatives to be especially worried.
“As our colleagues remember all too well, years ago, the State of California’s database of private donor data for over 1,000 nonprofit organizations was made public illegally.
“And a few years later, confidential IRS donor information from a conservative organization’s tax filings were published. To no one’s surprise, that information made its way into the hands of liberal groups with opposite views on key issues.
“Of course, we’re talking about the same IRS that made slow-walking requests and filings from conservative organizations a matter of internal policy under the last Democratic administration.
“These situations all have two things in common. First, a blatant political agenda aimed at advancing the cause of the political left. And second, the utter absence of criminal charges against the leakers.
“Let’s be clear: as soon as sensitive personal information is leaked, the damage is done. This genie can’t be put back in the bottle. And the federal government has proven far too often that it is, at best incapable, and at worst unwilling, to protect taxpayers’ data from misuse by the political left.
“That’s why I’ve been outspoken in support of efforts to reduce taxpayers’ exposure to unnecessary IRS collection in the first place.
“But every time a leak goes without serious investigation and criminal prosecution, basic public trust in our tax system suffers.
“And that fraying trust may eventually be irreparable.
“That’s why I joined Ranking Member Grassley and Ranking Member Crapo to demand that the Department of Justice and the FBI immediately investigate last week’s leak and aggressively pursue criminal charges against those responsible.
“Actual consequences. As a matter of justice, and as a practical deterrent.
“The federal government owes taxpayers nothing less.”
Related Issues: IRS