Lankford, Senate Finance Call for Information and Investigation of IRS Agent Conduct

WASHINGTON, DC – Following reports from multiple, diverse outlets that raise serious questions and concerns about the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) adherence to the letter and spirit of taxpayer rights—standards which IRS Commissioner Werfel has previously pledged to uphold—Senators James Lankford (R-OK) and Mike Crapo (R-ID), along with other Senate Finance Committee Republicans, called for information from the IRS and requesting an investigation from the US Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) on numerous serious reports of IRS employee misconduct.

In response, the IRS announced it is revisiting its policy for unannounced visits, but the agency still owes Congress answers into these serious reports on misconduct and intimidation.

In a letter to the IRS, the Senators requested information on several news reports to help the Committee better understand these allegations.

The Senators wrote, “As Commissioner of the IRS, you pledged an oath to uphold the Constitution and become personally responsible to ‘ensure’ that all IRS employees ‘act in accord’ with each of the statutory taxpayer rights, including the right to a fair and just tax system. We are concerned that these serious allegations, which have occurred in a short period of time and represent a diverse array of taxpayers, could show a pattern of heavy-handed IRS misconduct.”

In a separate letter to TIGTA, the Senators requested an investigation into one specific alleged incident of IRS misconduct and taxpayer intimidation, highlighting the statutory responsibility of TIGTA to supervise the operations of the IRS, including its criminal functions and employees.

The Senators wrote, “Americans have a right to know whether the serious allegations described above are being investigated. We urge TIGTA to open an investigation immediately, and further ask TIGTA to be prepared to provide Members of the Finance Committee with regularly scheduled updates and briefings on the progress of your investigation.”

Read the letter to the IRS here, and the letter to TIGTA here.