Nearly 10 months later, the Biden Administration still does not know what taxpayer data was stolen and leaked to ProPublica last summer.  In a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, top Republicans on the Senate and House tax panels are requesting an update on the investigation.  

The letter, sent by Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and House Ways and Means Ranking Member Representative Kevin Brady (R-Texas) notes how investigators still have not sought a copy of the stolen information, writing: 

Anyone accessing or releasing confidential personal tax information from the IRS without necessary approvals faces severe penalties and must be prosecuted.  In June 8, 2021, testimony before the Senate Finance Committee, IRS Commissioner Rettig pledged to ‘absolutely’ ensure that anyone found to have revealed such information would face prosecution, ‘absolutely.’  

“It is unclear why the Department of Treasury, the IRS, and the Department of Justice do not ask ProPublica for a copy of whatever data ProPublica is using to produce political articles in order to determine whether ProPublica’s claim of possessing legally protected data is true.” 

Read the full letter here

KEY TAKEAWAYS: 

  • Investigators still have not requested a copy of the stolen information: As of September 13, both the Treasury and the IRS say that they don’t “know whether there has been a data breach or a threat of a data breach” and that they do not “have any information concerning the sources of the alleged taxpayer information published by ProPublica.” 
  • The American people deserve answers: Nearly 10 months later, the Biden Administration is no closer to holding those responsible for leaking confidential, personal tax information accountable. 
  • Taxpayer privacy is paramount: Democrats have prioritized a supercharged IRS and surveillance scheme over getting to the bottom of this criminal breach of taxpayer information.  

ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND: 

  • On June 9, 2021, Crapo and Brady wrote to Commissioner Rettig demanding answers on the breach.
  • On June 11, 2021, Crapo led Finance Committee Republicans in demanding an investigation into the massive data leak.  
  • On June 14, 2021, Crapo, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) and Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray demanding a prompt investigation and prosecution of the latest IRS leak of confidential taxpayer information.
  • On June 21, 2021, Crapo requested a review by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) of the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) data security practices, procedures and methods. 
  • On August 10, 2021, Crapo, and Senate Judiciary Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) wrote to IRS Commissioner Rettig regarding the lack of responsiveness over data breach.
  • On October 5, 2021, Crapo and Senate Judiciary Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) sent a letter to Treasury’s Inspector General for Tax Administration asking for an audit of IRS research activities, and security protocols surrounding those activities.
  • On December 2, 2021, Senate Finance Committee Republicans again wrote to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig regarding the lack of information surrounding the apparent data breach or leak.

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