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Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) blasted the IRS on Wednesday for bringing in an outside law firm to help with an audit, accusing the agency of breaking long established tax law with the move.

Hatch said the IRS’s use of Quinn Emanuel flew in the face of requirements that only Treasury officers take part in audits and other tax investigations. Quinn Emanuel reportedly got a $2.2 million contract to help the IRS audit a corporate taxpayer. 

{mosads}”Turning over inherently government functions such as the conduct of an examination to private contractors not only jeopardizes the rights of taxpayers, but also confuses the examination process and changes the well-regulated relationship between revenue examiners and private taxpayers,” Hatch wrote to the IRS commissioner, John Koskinen.

Republicans like Rep. Peter Roskam (Ill.) have also questioned the IRS’s retention of Quinn Emanuel, during a time when the agency has said that funding decreases have led it to take on fewer audits.

Hatch raised questions Wednesday about the cost of retaining Quinn Emanuel as well, and noted that the IRS already has around 40,000 staffers working on enforcement issues.

The Utah Republican also questioned the IRS for releasing a temporary regulation giving it the ability to hire an outside party to take testimony for audits, only weeks after hiring Quinn Emanuel.

In his letter, Hatch asks the IRS to immediately stop using outside firms, and to explain why it started retaining that sort of help in the first place.

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