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Op-Ed: IRS wants to spy on your bank accounts

Sens. John Barrasso and Cynthia Lummis (both R-WY)

By Sens. John Barrasso and Cynthia Lummis

Democrats in Washington are planning a far-reaching Big Brother initiative to squeeze every last penny out of everyday Americans. They need more money to pay for their reckless spending programs. Their target is middle-class families in Wyoming and across the country.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen wants Democrats to force banks to tell the IRS every time you write or deposit a check above a certain amount. The number they are talking about is $600. This dangerous provision brings the IRS directly into your bank account.

We have heard more from people across Wyoming about this invasion of privacy by the government than we have on many, many issues over the years.

People are right to be alarmed. It not only creates a tremendous burden for Wyoming’s community banks and credit unions, it is an unprecedented attack on our privacy. We are adamantly opposed to this dangerous proposal.

President Biden wants to give the IRS the ability to monitor the purchases of every American family and business based on what goes into and out of your bank account. This includes checking accounts, as well as loan and investment accounts. The result will be a super-powered IRS with a license to spy on law-abiding Americans.

This financial dragnet would force Wyoming’s community bankers and credit union associates to become de-facto IRS agents. Our financial professionals want to continue working to serve their customers and their communities. They have told us they don’t want to invade your privacy or become agents of the IRS.

People in Wyoming will likely try to find alternatives to traditional financial services just to block IRS access to their personal information. It’s not because they’re trying to hide anything. It’s because they aren’t willing to be spied on.

The IRS is the largest, least-accountable bureaucracy in Washington. It has proven time and time again that it cannot be trusted to properly secure taxpayer data. We believe it is reckless to give them more power over private financial transactions. It is equally dangerous to entrust them with mountains of new data they cannot properly secure or analyze.

The very same agency that has unfairly targeted individual taxpayers and organizations cannot be given more information with which to continue these egregious practices. It’s a dangerous invasion of privacy that has no place in America.

Not only are Washington Democrats giving the IRS more power to snoop into personal bank accounts, they’re trying to supersize the IRS to do it. They want to increase the agency’s budget by $80 billion. This gives them the money they need to hire an army of agents to try to squeeze even more money from hard-working Americans.

Wyoming taxpayers, businesses, and financial institutions deserve better.

President Biden and his big-government supporters on Capitol Hill must immediately abandon these “Washington knows best” efforts to spy on the private financial transactions of law-abiding taxpayers.

We will continue fighting to stop this alarming IRS power-grab dead in its tracks.