Smith: IRS’s Failure to Support Whistleblower Pathway Deepens Public Mistrust of the Agency
WASHINGTON, DC – After the IRS failed to fulfill a request by Congress’s top tax panel to inform the agency’s more than 80,000 employees about a new whistleblower portal for reporting misconduct and abuse within the agency, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith (MO-08) issued the following statement:
“Our government agencies must answer to the people they serve, and they must do so through transparency and accountability. Unfortunately, the IRS – with its history of targeting Americans and repeatedly leaking confidential taxpayer information to further a political agenda – has a long way to go to restore the trust of the American people. By ignoring a direct request from the Ways and Means Committee – which has clear responsibility for oversight of the IRS – to inform its employees about the existence of the whistleblower portal, the agency has failed to take a simple but vital step towards demonstrating its willingness to work in good faith to shine a light on any abuse and mistreatment of taxpayers. Inaction by IRS leadership only intensifies the American people’s concerns about the agency and alarms career civil servants – who are in a position to help Congress – that IRS leadership will not tolerate whistleblowers.”
In a January 25 letter to Acting Commissioner Douglas O’Donnell, Chairman Smith requested the agency confirm by February 8 that the information regarding the Whistleblower portal had been shared with all IRS employees:
“We welcome and encourage IRS employees to use this portal to share any information they believe should be brought to the attention of the Committee as it conducts its oversight responsibilities,” wrote Chairman Smith. “Such information can include concerns, information, or documents related to misconduct, maladministration, abuse, mistreatment of taxpayers, wrongdoing, or any other agency matter an employee believes deserves the Committee’s attention. We request that a copy of this letter be shared with all IRS employees to ensure they are notified that this portal exists, and it is available for them to use. We ask that agency leadership confirm that this letter has been shared with all agency employees by February 8, 2023.”
IRS agency personnel can go to waysandmeans.house.gov/IRSwhistleblower to anonymously submit information to the Ways and Means Committee regarding any malpractice or malfeasance they believe has occurred and would be of interest to congressional oversight efforts.