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U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), ranking member of the Subcommittee on Taxation and IRS Oversight, which has jurisdiction over tax and other revenue measures, today questioned Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner Charles Rettig at a hearing on President Biden’s fiscal year 2023 budget and the 2022 tax filing season. Thune questioned Commissioner Rettig on the administration’s poor response to the IRS’ recent data breach or leak, which led to private taxpayer information being published by ProPublica, a left-leaning media organization. Thune also called out the IRS for its notoriously poor customer service.
Thune spoke on the Senate floor last week and criticized the IRS’ failure to deliver basic customer services and the negative effect it has on South Dakota taxpayers. Last September, Thune led a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) urging him to abandon the Biden administration’s unprecedented proposal to expand the reporting of the private, confidential financial data of law-abiding Americans from financial institutions to the IRS. Thune’s letter was signed by every Republican member of the Senate Committee on Finance and the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.
On ProPublica’s 2021 leak or breach of private taxpayer information (excerpt):
“Since last year’s IRS data breach or leak of private taxpayer information, which the left-leaning ProPublica went out on to publicize confidential taxpayer details, there has been no meaningful follow-up from the administration. In your March 8 response letter to Finance Republicans, you pointed to Secretary Yellen’s testimony that said the Department of Treasury, the Office of the Inspector General, the FBI, and the Department of Justice are conducting independent investigations into this matter. This apparent leak or hack of private taxpayer information is a serious breach of trust between taxpayers and their government. And it is simply inexcusable that the administration hasn’t provided any accountability.”
On the IRS’ customer service shortfalls (excerpt):
“I hear from a lot of South Dakotans who are frustrated with the IRS. Many are reaching out to my office as their returns are over six months behind. Not only are they frustrated with the delay, but with the lack of assistance as it feels impossible sometimes to reach an IRS representative.”