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Brady, Rice Blow Whistle on IRS’s Refusal to Work with Congress Investigating Destruction of Tax Returns

October 21, 2022

Due to its inability to process a historically long backlog of tax returns, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) chose to destroy over 30 million taxpayer documents last year.


Ways and Means Republicans have repeatedly requested the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) provide documents detailing the grounds for the decision to destroy over 30 million taxpayer documents last year. The IRS continually refuses to provide answers and cooperate as Congress conducts important oversight.


In a new letter to IRS Commissioner Rettig, Ways and Means Republican Leader Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Oversight Subcommittee Republican Leader Rep. Tom Rice (R-SC) requested all documents related to the IRS’s decision remain preserved, and asked that the IRS respond to repeated requests that records of the decision memorandum be provided to the Ways and Means Committee.


CLICK HERE to read the letter.


“The Administration’s refusal to respond to the Committee, engage in a substantive discussion with staff about the request, and ultimately deny access to the decision memorandum obstructs the Congress’ important role to conduct oversight,” the members wrote.


“We are deeply concerned with the Administration’s lack of transparency and cooperation. As such, we write to insist that you take all appropriate measures to collect and preserve all documents, communications, and other records that are relevant to the IRS’ decision memorandum detailing the recommendation to destroy 30 million unprocessed, paper-filed informational returns.”


Flashback: Concerns about IRS destruction of documents are based on historical precedent. When under investigation for targeting conservative organizations, the IRS admitted it destroyed two years worth of key records. From the New York Times:


The I.R.S. told congressional investigators on Friday that two years’ worth of emails sent and received by Lois Lerner, the former official at the center of the inquiry, had been destroyed because of a computer crash in mid-2011. The committees are examining whether the lost emails involved obstruction or a violation of the Federal Records Act, aides to the committees said.


The I.R.S.’s disclosure, included in a filing to the Senate Finance Committee, added to suspicions among Republican lawmakers that the I.R.S. was not cooperating fully with the investigations of its treatment of conservative political groups seeking tax-exempt status during the 2012 campaigns.


IRS Decision Memo Request Timeline: The Ways and Means Committee has made repeated requests for this information since May 2022. On multiple occasions the IRS has either outright refused to provide the information or has simply ignored requests and letters from the Committee. Ways and Means Republicans, led by Oversight Subcommittee Leader Rep. Tom Rice (R-SC), filed a Resolution of Inquiry seeking the decision memorandum. Unfortunately, Committee Democrats reported the resolution unfavorably. The letter today renews prior requests for the information and insists that the IRS respond to those requests while also preserving documents related to this issue.


READ: Democrats Obstruct Inquiry Into IRS’s Sudden Destruction of 30 Million Tax Returns