December 2, 2021

Cassidy, Crapo, Colleagues Press IRS on ProPublica Data Leak

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) and Mike Crapo (R-ID) led Senate Finance Committee Republicans in pressing the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on their weak response to a massive data leak earlier this year, which compromised private taxpayer data.  

Nearly six months after ProPublica began disclosing confidential, private and legally-protected taxpayer information, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Biden Administration continue to show little regard about the haphazard handling of private taxpayer data. ProPublica unabatedly continues to publish articles naming individual taxpayers while the IRS, the Department of the Treasury, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice have all failed to identify the source or sources of the leaked information.  

The public needs to know that personal information provided to the IRS remains confidential, and not available for targeting or political agendas, especially in light of current efforts to expand private information collection on American taxpayers.  

Cassidy and Crapo were joined by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), John Cornyn (R-TX), John Thune (R-SD), Richard Burr (R-NC), Rob Portman (R-OH), Patrick Toomey (R-PA), Tim Scott (R-SC), James Lankford (R-OK), Steve Daines (R-MT), Todd Young (R-IN), and John Barrasso (R-WY).

Read the full letter here or featured portions below.

Dear Commissioner Rettig:

We are writing regarding the series of articles published by the website ProPublica that appear to be based on confidential taxpayer information that potentially was leaked or hacked from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).


ProPublica continues to publish what appears to be confidential taxpayer information that is protected by law, and as Commissioner, you have been a proponent of the IRS being allowed access to even more information from taxpayers and a significant and mandatory enforcement budget.  The fact that the source of the information ProPublica continues to publish remains unknown means that the ability of the IRS to safeguard information already entrusted to it also remains unknown.  It is possible that ProPublica obtained whatever information it has at one time from a specific source.  However, if the ProPublica information was leaked or hacked from the IRS, and the IRS is unable to even determine if a leak or hack took place, this could indicate an ongoing and persistent problem with IRS information technology (IT) systems and the ability of the IRS to safeguard taxpayer information.


As we enter month six with no information about how ProPublica obtained protected taxpayer information, the risks we highlighted in this letter are of growing concern. It is our constitutional obligation to ensure that IRS enforcement remains effective, and that requires the IRS to properly secure taxpayer information. Accordingly, we request responses to the following questions by December 15, 2021.