WASHINGTON, D.C. – Top Republican on the Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) led the Republican meeting today examining Democrats’ push to throw billions of dollars at the IRS without adding any protections to address leaks of private taxpayer information and existing abuses of power.
Rep. Kelly said:
“The IRS is back to its same old, bad habits. Bad habits like leaking private, protected taxpayer information and targeting groups for their perceived religious or political views. [moved line up]
“And this comes at a time when Democrats in Congress want to give the IRS billions of dollars and unchecked power. Their plan includes turning local banks into chapters of the IRS to report on the personal and business bank accounts of all Americans, giving the IRS nearly $80 billion to hire an army of 87,000 new IRS agents, with no congressional oversight, and there are no protections in that bill to stop the IRS from abusing its power.”
Democrats’ Supercharged IRS Expansion and Tax Gap Plan Doesn’t Add Up
- IRS Commissioner Rettig testified before Congress that the tax gap could be as high as $1 trillion—contradicting the official IRS estimate of $381 billion per year. President Biden’s Tax Compliance Agenda uses an estimate of $630 billion.
- Democrats’ plan for a more invasive, supercharged IRS will turn local banks into an arm of the IRS, collecting private bank account information while burdening American families, farms, and small businesses.
- Research shows that those determined to evade taxes will adjust their behavior based on new IRS efforts within three short years—so the other $260 billion in this “pay-for” is also far too optimistic.
- Republicans have introduced legislation to improve the IRS while protecting taxpayers in the process.
CLICK HERE to watch Rep. Kelly’s opening remarks.
CLICK HERE to watch the full event.
Rep. Kelly’s opening remarks as prepared for delivery appear below.
Thank you to my friend Mr. Brady for those remarks and thank you to everyone for being here today.
The weaponization of the IRS is an issue our constituents care deeply about.
The IRS is a powerful force – nothing strikes fear into the hearts of our constituents more than getting a letter from the IRS.
And, unfortunately, the IRS is back to its same old, bad habits.
Bad habits like leaking private, protected taxpayer information and targeting groups for their perceived religious or political views.
And this comes at a time when Democrats in Congress want to give the IRS billions of dollars and unchecked power. Their plan includes:
Turning local banks into chapters of the IRS to report on the personal and business bank accounts of all Americans.
Giving the IRS nearly $80 billion to hire an army of 87,000 new IRS agents, with no congressional oversight.
And there are no protections in that bill to stop the IRS from abusing its power.
In addition to abuses of power, the IRS is dysfunctional:
The agency receives over 3.5 billion information returns annually but much of that information goes completely unused.
Nearly 50 percent of large corporate audits ended with no change made – meaning the IRS wasted time auditing a taxpayer that was fully compliant.
Despite Congress giving the IRS authority and the ability to get information on US taxpayers with foreign bank accounts holding trillions of dollars offshore, not a single audit has been initiated.
And to add to that dysfunction, after more than three months of investigations, the IRS still cannot tell us whether the massive, criminal leak of taxpayer information to Pro Publica earlier this summer, came from them.
Despite sending letters and demanding answers, we still don’t know who leaked the information and how they obtained it.
This is completely unacceptable.
Sadly, Committee Democrats have shown little interest in this massive leak.
That is why last week Ranking Member Brady and I sent a letter to Chairman Neal and Oversight Chairman Pascrell urging them to immediately schedule an oversight hearing on this issue.
We have not heard back from them.
Unfortunately, the weaponization of data leaked from the IRS is not the only scandal at the agency this year.
Today you will hear testimony from a nonprofit, nonpartisan group that was targeted by the IRS because it educates its members on bible teachings that the IRS determined were “affiliated with the Republican party.”
This discrimination against a Christian group based on their beliefs is outrageous and reminds me of the bad old Lois Lerner days.
Thankfully, once under scrutiny, including from this Committee, the IRS quickly reversed its initial decision and approved the group’s tax-exempt status.
We are fortunate to have Ms. Bunni Pounds, the President of Christians Engaged, with us today to tell her story. And we are also fortunate to have her attorney, Ms. Lea Patterson from First Liberty here as well to share some details from the legal case.
Thank you both for being with us and we look forward to hearing from you in a few minutes.
Let me wrap this up with reminding us all about how toxic the IRS can be when left unchecked.
It really wasn’t all that long ago, and it should inform how we think about the scandals plaguing the IRS today.
Here today to help us bring all these issues together is Mr. Jay Sekulow.
Mr. Sekulow is the Chief Counsel at the American Center for Law and Justice, known by most people as ACLJ.
As many of you know, Mr. Sekulow represented many tea party groups targeted by Lois Lerner and the IRS.
Mr. Sekulow, thank you so much for being here today, we look forward to your testimony.
Look everyone, the IRS is incredibly powerful and incredibly intimidating. That is why we must be vigilant.
It is so important for us to shine light on this issue to let the American people know what is going on at the IRS.
And to let them know that at least the Republican members of this Committee will continue fighting to protect taxpayers.
And with that I would like to turn it over first to Mr. Sekulow for an opening statement.