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IRS Tracked Political Party Affiliation

Newsmax | January 12 2006

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The Internal Revenue Service collected information about the political party affiliation of people in 20 states as it hunted down scofflaws who owed back taxes.

Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), a member of a subcommittee with jurisdiction over the IRS, called the practice an "outrageous violation of the public trust.”

Sen. Murray told the Tacoma News Tribune that she learned about the practice from the president of the National Treasury Employees Union, Colleen Kelly, who said several IRS employees had complained to the union about the collection of party affiliations.

Kelly wrote to the IRS that "material routinely consulted in the tax collection process raises an appearance of possible impropriety that could erode taxpayer confidence in the independence of our voluntary compliance system.”

In a letter to Kelly, Deputy IRS Commissioner John Dalrymple said the information was collected through a "database platform” supplied by an outside contractor, which targeted voter registration lists in search of tax scofflaws.

"This information is appropriately used to locate information on taxpayers whose accounts are delinquent,” he told the News Tribune.
But Sen. Murray said: "This agency should not have that type of information. No one should question whether they are being audited because of party affiliation.”

IRS officials have told the outside contractor to screen out the party affiliation information.

The 20 states where the IRS collection the information, according to Murray, are Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin

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