Turns out that the massive omnibus spending bill that the Senate passed had a little proviso in it to allow the chairs of the Appropriations Committees examine the tax return of any citizen. This little love letter to personal privacy was inserted by Ernest Istook, a Republican from Oklahoma. The Republican leadership was quick to condemn the change, and the Senate quickly voted to get rid of the language.
Istook insists that the addition was supposed to "include visiting and inspecting the huge IRS processing centers but not inspecting tax returns." Of course, neither he nor his Chief of Staff saw the actual language of the provision, which did exactly what Istook said it didn't. Reading is fundamental, not fundamentalist, apparently. "the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service shall allow agents designated by such Chairman access to Internal Revenue Service facilities and any tax returns or return information contained therein."
Geez, I miss the days when the things that snuck through were the 14th Robert Byrd Elementary school.
Last 5 posts by Ezra
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