IG Finds Improper Access and Disclosure of Private Tax Records

Accounting Today reports:

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, the former chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, is looking into findings from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration that the confidential tax records of political donors or candidates have been inappropriately accessed or disclosed in several instances since 2006 and asking why the Justice Department has declined to prosecute the perpetrators.

The inappropriate access most likely occurred at the IRS, Grassley’s office noted, but since TIGTA did not name the specific agency, another entity or entities, such as a state tax office with access to federal tax records, could be involved. TIGTA is withholding details of the agencies involved and the names of the candidates and donors because of taxpayer confidentiality laws.

The inspector general found one case of access “willful” and sought Justice Department prosecution, Grassley’s office noted, but the Justice Department declined to prosecute. Grassley is asking the Justice Department for an explanation of the decision not to prosecute.

The story notes that the IG did not disclose the identity, or political affiliation, of those whose records were improperly accessed or leaked, and it should not matter. There should be a zero-tolerance policy for this sort of thing.

(Hat tip: Paul Caron)