Senate 'privacy hawk' brushes aside Republican concerns about expanded IRS financial surveillance

"There's no reporting at all on individual transactions," maintains Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

Updated: October 22, 2021 - 11:16pm

Touting his credentials as a "privacy hawk," Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden assured customers of small community banks and credit unions their privacy will be protected under the Democrats' controversial new Internal Revenue Service reporting requirements. 

"I don't think there's anybody in the Senate who has my track record," said the Oregon Democrat, citing his specialization in privacy issues as a member of the intelligence committee and coauthor of the Internet Tax Freedom Act. "I don't think anybody has more credentials than I do on protecting privacy. There will be no information, zero, zilch on a particular transaction."

An organization representing credit unions recently told Just the News that some credit unions are losing accounts due to the Democrats' proposed reporting requirements.

Democratic leaders have since decided to raise the threshold for triggering required reporting to the IRS from the original $600 figure to $10,000 or more of activity in an account. This threshold would cover most accounts, and require banks and credit unions to report account information to the IRS as a way for Democrats to raise revenue to pay for their multitrillion social spending bill.

The organization representing community banks told Just the News that they are opposed to any new requirements, mainly due to increased compliance costs that would divert resources that could otherwise be put toward products and services for customers. 

The Independent Community Bankers of America said the IRS would be "tracking" customers' bank accounts with their proposed rules. ICBA Executive Vice President Aaron Stetter said some community banks are already receiving calls from customers inquiring about how to close their accounts if these rules are implemented.

"There's no reporting at all on individual transactions," Wyden said when asked about the specific concerns of small banks, credit unions and their customers about the proposed rules.

Wyden said he respects community banks and credit unions, but "we have a difference of opinion" on creating new IRS reporting requirements.

"We've done a lot of work together and, in particular, I've heard a lot of Republicans say this is a massive invasion of people's privacy," Wyden said. "Well, I'll tell you, I will put my credentials as a privacy hawk in the United States Senate up against anybody."

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