Republicans on Tuesday pressed the IRS for answers regarding a leak of high-profile taxpayer data to ProPublica earlier this year, expressing concern about possible threats to national security and Americans’ privacy.
Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, and Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, sought details as to how the sensitive information was obtained and whether a "major security incident" took place.
"The veracity of ProPublica’s claims remain unknown, and we have not received responses to our requests for more information," the lawmakers wrote. "To our knowledge, there is no publicly available basis for determining whether innocent Americans, including law-abiding citizens of our home states, have had their private, legally-protected, and sensitive information leaked into the hands of journalists and activists, or obtained by foreign agents or others."
After roughly two months, it is unknown whether the IRS was breached – and whether that potential breach may have been carried out by internal or external actors.
Republicans asked for answers to be submitted to them by August 24.
In June, ProPublica published a report after allegedly obtaining years’ worth of private tax records from several high-profile individuals, including Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Tesla CEO Elon Musk and billionaire investor Carl Icahn.
The publication came to the conclusion that these rich individuals are able to pay a low tax rate compared to the growth in their wealth and incomes. In some cases, the "true tax rate" of the nation’s wealthiest individuals was close to nothing, the report said.
The tax data was widely reported and used as a basis for proposals to increase taxes on the wealthiest Americans – an agenda supported by Democrats in Congress and the Biden administration.
As previously reported by FOX Business, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said that the situation highlights the fact that the IRS is out of control, "failing its obligation to every American," and in need of reform before the situation worsens.
"It’s proof positive that anyone can have their most private information made public and used to destroy them if it advances the agenda of Democrats or shores up the power of progressive special interests," Issa said.
Issa and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, sent a letter to the Inspector General for Tax Administration on Tuesday expressing concern about the leak of wealthy taxpayer data. The pair noted that the disclosures were made in violation of the law and requested a staff-level briefing by Aug. 10.