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Less Than 48 Hours After Sen. Moran Questions Secretary Lew on Tax Record Leaks, IRS Apologizes

"When Americans file their taxes or donate to a cause they believe in, they have a right to assume their tax return will not be used for political purposes."

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Wednesday, May 8, 2013, U.S. Senator Jerry Moran questioned Treasury Secretary Jack Lew during his testimony before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government, about the troubling evidence that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released Schedule B donor lists belonging to 501(c)(4) non-profit groups to other outside groups. The evidence also suggests that the groups who improperly received this information intended to use it for partisan political purposes. Less than 48-hours after Sen. Moran questioned the Secretary about the handling of this issue, the IRS apologized for the release of these tax records.  

“The release of these nonprofit donor lists is forbidden by U.S. tax law as well as internal IRS regulations. While an apology is a good start, it does little to rectify the mishandling of this situation,” Sen. Moran said. “We must find out how this happened and make certain it does not happen again. As promised, I am submitting a written inquiry to Secretary Lew and Acting Commissioner of the IRS Steven Miller and I anxiously await their response. When Americans file their taxes or donate to a cause they believe in, they have a right to assume their tax return will not be used for political purposes.”

The release of tax returns or return information is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison or a fine of up to $5,000, or both.

Highlights from Sen. Moran’s questioning of Treasury Secretary Lew can be found below, along with a link to the video.

Senator Moran: I’m going to submit for the record a question to you…and it deals with this issue of the IRS’… release of tax returns that appear to involve contributions to certain political organizations – and the information that is released ends up in the hands of other politically oriented organizations. I’m going to outline a number of instances where that has happened and ask you and the Commissioner to explain what’s going on at the IRS – what’s happening at the Treasury Department. How did these releases occur and what actions…have you taken to make sure they don’t happen in the future and that employees that are culpable are punished. Nothing I’ve seen has suggested that the release of very personal and confidential information – which may be used for political means – has brought any reaction or response from the IRS or the Treasury Department. I’m very interested in making certain that every American – whatever their views are – can know that their tax return is not something that is going to become public.

Secretary Lew: I’m happy to look at it, and can say as a principle we totally agree that there should be no politics in the execution of our tax laws.

YOUTUBE:  Click here to watch Sen. Moran Question Secretary Lew on IRS Release of nonprofit donor lists.