Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR), Ranking Member of Senate Finance Committee revealed for the first time that that the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) Criminal Division was not consulted before the Administration relaxed disclosure requirements on dark money political groups. The information was revealed in a correspondence from the IRS to the Senators. The correspondence came after Casey pressed the IRS Commissioner, Charles P. Rettig, for information on the process during a hearing and in subsequent follow-up questions.
“The ability to follow the money across seemingly unrelated entities can be a critical tool for investigators, especially where transactions may be layered or obscured through multiple and disparate organizations… Revoking the disclosure requirement to the IRS could make it much more difficult for authorities to discover fraudulent activity and track such activity across entities,” wrote the Senators. ”The change in this disclosure requirement seems to limit the tools available to investigators attempting to uncover illegal activity which can span from tax fraud, to illegal political contributions from foreign entities, to terrorist financing.”
More on the letter: Sens. Casey and Wyden are requesting information from the commissioner regarding the ability of IRS Criminal Investigation (CI) to investigate dark money donors, the reasoning behind CI’s exclusion from the decision-making process behind this directive and the organizational and administrative oversight behind the policy change. The requirement for certain tax-exempt organizations to disclose the identities of their large donors to the IRS can be a tool in uncovering corruption and dissuading potential foreign actors from exerting influence over American politics and organizations. IRS Criminal Investigation (CI) is the only entity that can investigate potential criminal violations of the Tax Code.
A full copy of the letter can be found here.