WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Congressman David Schweikert (AZ-01) and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith (MO-08) raised serious concerns in a letter to Acting Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Douglas O’Donnell over the Biden administration’s selection of left-leaning think tank New America and Professor Ariel Jurow-Kleiman to review an e-file program designed to make the IRS both tax collector and tax preparer.
Democrats inserted a provision into the so-called “Inflation Reduction Act” that gives $15 million in taxpayer funds to the IRS to study the feasibility of a free e-file tax return system, though the law requires the assessment be conducted by an independent third party.
In their letter, Schweikert and Smith expose how the Biden administration’s choice of New America would seem to violate the requirements of their own law:
“The characterization of New America as a strictly non-partisan, non-profit is surprising since the organization is known to be a left-leaning think tank. Specifically, some of the non-profit’s top officials include alumni from the Obama Administration, a former aide to Secretary Hillary Clinton, and other top officials of the organization are tied to left-leaning mainstream and openly left-wing media outlets. In March 2021, New America employees wrote favorably about Senator Warren’s Tax Simplification Act, which would set up a free filing system at the IRS. Specifically, New America wrote ‘the government…can and should build this tool in the coming years.’”
Schweikert and Smith went on to express their view that the Biden administration appears to have made up its mind in establishing a government-directed e-file system rather than relying on an independent third-party review of the system’s viability:
“Plain and simple – New America and Professor Jurow-Kleiman are neither objective nor independent third parties. They bring radically biased points of view that will undoubtedly shade any evaluation of the issues they are tasked to evaluate. The Administration’s choice of New America and Professor Jurow-Kleiman not only ignores the law by failing to select an independent third party to conduct this study, but it is also illustrative of the fact that at a minimum, the perception is that the Administration has already predetermined that a government-directed efile system should exist regardless of what might be found in a truly non-partisan, independent, third-party review of the feasibility, the cost to develop and operate such a system, the IRS capacity to run such a system, or taxpayer opinions on the matter.”
To read the full letter, click here.
- The Inflation Reduction Act requires an “independent third party” to report on “the overall feasibility, approach, schedule, cost, organization design, and Internal Revenue Service capacity to deliver such a direct efile tax return system.”
- To produce that report, President Biden’s IRS has hired New America – an organization populated by Democrat Party operatives and other left-leaning officials – which has already stated “the government…can and should build this tool in the coming years.”
- The Biden administration has also appointed Ariel Jurow-Kleiman to assist in the supposedly “independent” review of the e-file proposal – an individual that is on the record openly championing the establishment of such a program at the IRS.
- An e-file program like that imagined in the IRA has been a long-time priority of Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator Elizabeth Warren, and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to give the IRS control over both the filing and auditing of tax returns.