Levin, Cummings to IRS: How Much Have Investigations Cost the Agency?
WASHINGTON – Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Sander Levin (D-MI) and Oversight and Government Reform Committee Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-MD) today asked new IRS Commissioner John Koskinen to detail how much taxpayer money and resources the IRS has spent to accommodate the six Congressional investigations initiated after the May 14 TIGTA audit report. In the nearly nine months since the report was published, no evidence of political motivation has emerged. Meanwhile, the agency in January completed every recommendation included in the May 14 audit report. The request for an accounting of resources spent on the investigations was made in a letter to Commissioner Koskinen. A PDF copy of the letter is here. Text follows:
February 7, 2014
The Honorable John Koskinen
Internal Revenue Service
1111 Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20224
Dear Mr. Koskinen:
Congratulations on your recent confirmation as Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service. Your bi-partisan Senate confirmation marks a new beginning for the agency. We are glad that the IRS has implemented all of the recommendations proposed by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration’s May 14, 2013 audit report.
We very much look forward to working with you and appreciate your commitment to cooperate with Congress. We are concerned, however, that Congressional Republicans are wasting taxpayer dollars and continuously using the IRS “investigations” for political purposes for the November election. We are writing today to request an accounting of taxpayer dollars and federal employee time spent to date on these investigations. This is occurring during a time when there is a need for adequate resources to better serve taxpayers during the filing season.
In your letter to our Committees dated January 28, 2014, you cited a number of figures about the work that the IRS has performed at the direction of Congress related to the six investigations into the May 14, 2013 Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration report on the processing of tax-exempt applications. Specifically, more than 150 people at the IRS, including Chief Counsel attorneys, litigation support staff and IRS personnel, have worked for more than 70,000 hours combined to produce over 500,000 pages of documents. The IRS has responded to more than 50 Congressional letters and hundreds of informal Congressional requests, facilitated more than 60 transcribed interviews by Congressional staff of current and former IRS employees, and IRS personnel have answered questions related to the subjects of these investigations at 14 Congressional hearings.
A conservative accounting suggests the total of taxpayer dollars spent by the IRS to accommodate the investigation would be well into the millions of dollars. The IRS has been very detailed in providing us with statistics related to the investigations, and I hope that this additional information also can be obtained.
Please feel free to have your staff contact either the Ways and Means Committee Democratic staff at 202-225-4021 or the Oversight and Government Reform Committee Democratic staff at 202-225-5051 if you have any questions.
Sander Levin Elijah Cummings
Ranking Member Ranking Member
Ways and Means Oversight and Government
Committee Reform Committee