FOMC Chair Yellen Answers a reporters question by Federal Reserve is licensed under Public Domain

Testifying before the Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen once again had no answers for lawmakers regarding the large scale theft of private taxpayer files from the IRS, published by the progressive outlet ProPublica.

Yellen has provided no meaningful answers ever since the theft was revealed on June 8, 2021 – coincidentally at the very moment Democrats launched a major tax-increase effort. Yellen and then-IRS chief Charles Rettig promised to get to the bottom of the theft, promising swift action and accountability.

But since then, Yellen claims she doesn’t know anything. Yes, the person who oversees the IRS supposedly doesn’t know a thing. Even after 653 days.

So that means the thief likely remains at large with top-to-bottom access to the entire IRS data kingdom. The IRS and Treasury won’t even say if they have reached out to ProPublica to formally request a copy of the stolen material.

On Wednesday, Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.) asked Yellen for an update:

Hagerty: “This has to do with the ProPublica leak of taxpayer information. This is the fourth time you and I have met about this. The fact is that ProPublica was a leaker or somebody at the IRS or somehow, they’ve, ProPublica’s leaked confidential taxpayer information. It’s been nearly two years since this occurred. Has anyone been held to account?” 

Yellen: “I’m as frustrated by this situation as you are. I would love to know who’s responsible for that and I’m afraid that I know no more about this than I did when the leak first occurred. We did what I believe is the appropriate thing which is to refer this matter to independent investigators the Treasury Inspector General, the IRS Inspector General, and the Department of Justice and there are no reports. Independent investigations follow their own timelines, and I can’t tell you when they’re going to be concluded. I would suggest that you ask those investigators when they think it might be concluded.”

Hagerty: “I would really like to get a report and I think this was a very serious matter and deserves an independent investigation and thoroughly damages the confidence of taxpayers in America.”

For Yellen to say that she “knows no more” about the theft than she did almost two years ago is unacceptable. Meanwhile Yellen has worked aggressively to increase the size and power of the IRS.   

Click here for a video of Yellen and Rettig’s statements on the theft and subsequent (lack of) investigation.

A timeline of Yellen and Rettig statements on the theft can be found below:

June 8, 2021: Charles Rettig, IRS Commissioner: “I can confirm that there is an investigation with respect to the allegations that the source of the information in that article came from the Internal Revenue Service.”

June 16, 2021: Janet Yellen, Treasury Secretary: “And I really want to emphasize we do not know what happened”

June 23, 2021: Yellen: “We don’t yet know what occurred.”

Sept. 28, 2021: Yellen: “Just to be clear, we do not know that the ProPublica information came from the IRS.”

Nov. 30, 2021: Yellen: “We don’t know what the source of the leak of that information was.”

Apr. 7, 2022: Rettig: “I don’t believe it’s been indicated that it was actually stolen from the IRS.” “I get frustrated when investigations go on without public acknowledgement of what’s there. You know the timing isn’t helpful for maybe an agency to say what did or didn’t happen.”

April 2022: Rettig: “And I don’t believe there has been a public statement that it actually was a leak or a breach from the Internal Revenue Service where that data came from.”

May 10, 2022: Yellen: “I really am anxious to see some results here as well. I regret that I’m not able to do so.”

March 10, 2023: Yellen: “I would really like to get to the bottom of this. We care deeply about taxpayer privacy and an unauthorized disclosure of taxpayer information is illegal and something to be taken very seriously.”

March 22, 2023: Yellen: “I’m afraid that I know no more about this than I did when the leak first occurred.”

Taxpayers deserve answers.