Senate Democrats are currently outraged by something that they read about in the news.
A group of Democratic senators wants the Justice Department to investigate several tax prep companies after an investigation the lawmakers launched concluded the companies shared reams of taxpayers’ personal and financial information with Meta.
Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and others accuse H&R Block, TaxSlayer and TaxAct of having embedded code in their Web sites known as “pixels” that allowed their users’ sensitive tax data to be shared with Meta — the parent company of Facebook —and Google.
Okay, but if we’re investigating sensitive tax data being shared with outsiders, let’s start with ProPublica.
ProPublica, the slimy leftist activist group set up by one of the scammers who helped cause the recession in the previous decade, has gotten a lot of attention for its campaign against conservative Supreme Court justices (by some farfetched coincidence, ProPublica gets funding from groups that want to pack the court) had previously made headlines for obtaining “users’ sensitive tax data” and then publishing it as part of a lefty campaign about taxes.
It’s traditional in media circles to describe stolen information as a “leak” when it’s published by their side, but federal tax data being published should have occasioned a DOJ probe.
Attorney General Merrick Garland promised that it would be a top priority.
Attorney General Merrick Garland told lawmakers Wednesday that investigating the source of a massive leak of taxpayer information behind an article by investigative news outlet ProPublica will be one of his top priorities.
“I promise you, it will be at the top of my list,” Garland assured Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, during a budget hearing before the Senate Appropriations Committee.
“Senator, I take this as seriously as you do. I very well remember what President [Richard] Nixon did in the Watergate period — the creation of enemies lists and the punishment of people through reviewing their tax returns,” Garland said. “This is an extremely serious matter. People are entitled, obviously, to great privacy with respect to their tax returns.”
That was back in 2021. How’s that investigation going?
In 2022, House Republicans asked how the investigation is going.
“Despite repeated efforts by Ways and Means Committee Republicans, the American people remain in the dark about who was responsible and how the Treasury Department allowed this to happen,” Republicans wrote Thursday in their letter to Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen.
Signed on were Ways and Means’ top Republican Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas and GOP members Texas Rep. Jodey C. Arrington and Tennessee Rep. David Kustoff.
If Republicans take control of the House in next month’s midterm elections, the taxpayer data leak could become a bigger focus next year. One of the Republicans running to take over from Brady, who is retiring, as the panel’s top GOP member — Missouri Rep. Jason Smith — pressed Yellen on the issue during a June hearing and named it as a matter he’d perform “aggressive oversight” on if he holds the committee gavel.
I’m sure the information will show up around the time we learn who leaked the Dobbs decision. But this should be something the DOJ should take on even as the media will cry that it’s prosecuting whistleblowers.
Either personal tax data is private or it’s fair game for the public.