Rep. Jason Smith (R-Mo.) on Wednesday announced a new online form for Internal Revenue Service (IRS) whistleblowers to report misconduct at the agency directly to Congress.
The confidential online form was established via the House Ways and Means Committee as part of the new Republican majority’s “aggressive oversight,” according to Smith. Potential whistleblowers at the IRS can submit information confidentially to the panel regarding “any inappropriate behavior or mishandling of taxpayer information at the agency.”
According to Smith, it is a top priority for the panel during the new Congress to make sure government agencies are transparent and accountable by closely examining them to find any instances of waste, fraud, and abuse.
Smith also sent a letter to acting IRS Commissioner Douglas O’Donnell and requested that all employees be informed about the portal, asking for this action to be confirmed by Feb. 8.
“We welcome and encourage IRS employees to use this portal to share any information they believe should be brought to the attention of the Committee as it conducts its oversight responsibilities,” Smith wrote in the letter (pdf). “Such information can include concerns, information, or documents related to misconduct, maladministration, abuse, mistreatment of taxpayers, wrongdoing, or any other agency matter an employee believes deserves the Committee’s attention.”
Smith added that the American people demand accountability and “deserve answers,” noting that the new reporting form gives IRS personnel “a safe, secure, and confidential way to provide information that might be vital to protecting taxpayers.”
The Ways and Means Committee noted that it’s seeking any information about professional misconduct or illegal and unethical behavior by officials and personnel at the IRS that could potentially breach the trust of the American people.
The panel warns potential IRS whistleblowers against using work resources and to wait until after work hours to make any submissions via the portal.
The new form is part of Republicans’ commitment to improving government accountability, according to Smith.
“The IRS has a disturbing track record of violating the trust of the American taxpayer—whether it’s leaking confidential taxpayer information, targeting Americans for their political beliefs, or just failing to perform its most basic customer service responsibilities,” Smith said in a statement. “Unfortunately, it has become clear that relying on the IRS to be forthcoming about its failures or outright abuses of taxpayer confidence is insufficient to ensure much needed, aggressive oversight of the agency.”
Smith has been critical of the IRS, accusing it of having a history of exposing confidential taxpayer information. In September last year, the IRS said it accidentally exposed, but later removed, the confidential financial information of about 120,000 taxpayers. A Treasury Department official said the IRS “took immediate steps” and “removed the errant files from IRS.gov.”
The incident happened “at the same time the Biden administration was trying to whip public support for raising taxes on such individuals,” according to Smith, who has argued that there was a lack of accountability for this behavior.
In an op-ed last year, cited in the panel’s news release, Smith argued that the IRS targeted conservative political groups during the Obama-Biden administration, and that this scandal cost American taxpayers millions of dollars.
The Epoch Times contacted the IRS for comment.