The IRS May Be Spying on You

House Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan and Rep. Harriet Hageman are investigating whether the IRS is using AI to surveil American taxpayers, Fox News reported this week.

The investigation was prompted by reports alleging that the IRS is monitoring citizens’ bank accounts en masse without legal process.

Video footage shows an IRS official mentioning a new AI system targeting potential abusers by analyzing returns, bank statements, and financial information globally.

“The Committee and Select Subcommittee have reason to believe that the IRS is working with other federal agencies to conduct this AI-powered warrantless financial surveillance,” Jordan and Hageman wrote

The targeting of citizens and political opponents by the IRS—and other arms of the federal government—is nothing new. 

Jack Smith, the special counsel overseeing the investigation into former President Donald Trump, has a history of targeting conservatives, as revealed by House Republicans, we reported in 2022. Smith was involved in the IRS political targeting scandal during the Obama era, where conservative nonprofit groups were improperly scrutinized while liberal-leaning organizations were approved. Documents show collusion between the Department of Justice and the IRS to prosecute conservative groups, with the IRS providing confidential information to the DOJ.

Throughout history, the IRS has been involved in scandals and political controversies, with instances of corruption, political influence, and misuse of taxpayer information.

“In almost every administration since the IRS’s inception, the information and power of the tax agency have been mobilized for explicitly political purposes,” wrote David Burnham, author of A Law Unto Itself: Power, Politics and the IRS.

The IRS was created in 1862 to collect income tax to fund the Civil War, and the income tax was repealed after the war. It was reinstated in 1913 with the ratification of the 16th Amendment. The taxing authority expanded rapidly, with top tax rates reaching 77% during World War I and the number of tax returns increasing significantly.

Reforms in the IRS, such as hiring tax agents through civil service and changing the agency’s name to the Internal Revenue Service, have been proposed and implemented over the years. Despite reform efforts, abuses of power continued, with instances of using the IRS for political purposes, such as targeting political opponents for audits.

“The use of AI technology to actively monitor millions of Americans’ private transactions, bank accounts, and related financial information – without any legal process – is highly concerning,” Jordan and Hageman wrote. “This kind of pervasive financial surveillance, carried out in coordination with federal law enforcement, into Americans’ private financial records raises serious doubts about the IRS’s – and the federal government’s – respect for Americans’ fundamental civil liberties.”


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