D.C. – Every Republican Congress member and both U.S. Senators from Missouri signed on in support of legislation last month that would prohibit the Department of Treasury from requiring financial institutions to regularly report customers’ bank transactions.
The Prohibiting IRS Financial Surveillance Act would “stop the Biden Administration’s plan to turn local banks into chapters of the IRS required to report on the bank accounts of nearly all Americans,” according to a press release by Republicans on the Ways and Means Committee.
The legislation is in response to the Biden administration’s plan for the IRS to require financial institutions to routinely monitor bank account transactions of $600 or more for all U.S. citizens. After massive backlash and the introduction of the Prohibiting IRS Financial Surveillance Act, senior Democrats agreed to raise the transaction amount to $10,000. However, that hasn’t satisfied critics as many are still concerned about law-abiding citizens’ privacy rights.
The House and the Senate have each introduced a version of the Prohibiting IRS Financial Surveillance Act and both are widely supported by Republicans. The House version, sponsored by Rep. Drew Ferguson of Georgia, was originally introduced with 90 Republican co-sponsors including Missouri Reps. Blaine Luetkemeyer, Ann Wagner, Sam Graves, Billy Long and Jason Smith.
“We should not allow the IRS to invade the privacy of Americans by snooping into their bank accounts,” Ferguson said. “This IRS surveillance is an invasion of individuals’ privacy and with Democrats’ history of weaponizing the IRS for their own personal gain, it’s in every American’s best interest that we prevent the use of private information for this type of egregious power play.”
The Senate version, sponsored by Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, has nearly every GOP Senators’ support with 47 Republicans co-sponsoring the bill, including Missouri Sens. Roy Blunt and Josh Hawley.
Since the news broke of Democrats and the Biden administration’s plan to monitor Americans’ bank transactions, Republican legislators have spoken out in fierce opposition.
“This IRS surveillance scheme would scoop up virtually every American’s private banking information,” Graves said. “That isn’t by mistake, it’s by design. This isn’t about catching wealthy tax cheats, it’s about collecting massive troves of financial information on every American family. It’s wrong and I’m going to do everything I can to stop it.”
“Allowing the IRS to target working families is dangerous and should terrify every single American,” Smith said. “Preventing bureaucrats from targeting political opponents should have bipartisan support. But Democrats are leaving no stone unturned to find ways to pay for their socialist spending agenda, including weaponizing the IRS against Americans.”
The “targeting” of political opponents that Smith mentioned dates back to the Obama administration when the IRS was caught denying conservative groups a tax exempt status solely based on their conservative stances.
In 2013, an IRS official admitted that the agency had been aggressively scrutinizing conservative groups that had “Tea Party” or “Patriots” in the name of the organization. After the confession, the federal government paid a “substantial financial settlement” to over 400 conservative organizations who sued the IRS for political targeting.
The Prohibiting IRS Financial Surveillance Act is currently awaiting a committee hearing.