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Smith Demands Timely and Public Answers from IRS Watchdog on Investigation into Leak of Taxpayer Private Data

February 16, 2023

WASHINGTON, DC – Nineteen months after a massive leak of confidential taxpayer information was published by ProPublica, the American people are still in the dark, charged House Ways and Means Chairman Jason Smith (MO-08) in a letter sent today to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) J. Russell George.

In the letter, Chairman Smith highlighted the need for the Treasury Department to explain to the public how the leak happened and who in the IRS was responsible for it:

U.S. Department of the Treasury Secretary Yellen stated at the time that this was a ‘very serious situation’ and that the issue was referred to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA). She also indicated that she would keep Congress updated on the matter. Yet, nineteen months after this outrageous leak, Congress, and, more importantly, the American people have no idea how this betrayal of taxpayer confidentiality happened or whether anyone has been held accountable.

The leak occurred at the same time that President Biden and congressional Democrats were soliciting public support for partisan legislation that would raise taxes on the same taxpayers whose information was publicly disclosed. This the latest example in a long pattern of abusive behavior by the IRS under Democrat presidents, most notably during the Obama-Biden Administration when Lois Lerner, the former IRS Director of Exempt Organizations, was held in contempt of Congress after it was revealed that numerous conservative groups were targeted by the agency.

The letter calls on TIGTA to make public the results of a timely, thorough investigation into the leak:

A detailed status of this review is necessary to ensure TIGTA is conducting a comprehensive investigation that will be completed in a timely manner…This leak of taxpayer information cannot be ignored, and TIGTA as well as the IRS can be confident that the Ways and Means Committee will work tirelessly to ensure accountability. Congress and the American people should not have to wait years to get answers.

Bottom Line: After the Biden IRS leaked confidential taxpayer information to promote Washington Democrats’ political agenda, the Biden Administration thus far failed to produce any information about the cause of the leaks or hold anyone accountable. The American people deserve answers about the IRS’s abuse of power and betrayal of taxpayer information.

Read the letter here.


  • ProPublica revealed it had obtained private tax information in a June 8, 2021 article
  • ProPublica claims to have obtained the tax returns of thousands of Americans
  • ProPublica claims the information spans more than 15 years
  • ProPublica has used this previously confidential data to publish a series of articles exposing the private information of Americans that the IRS was supposed to keep confidential.