Wyden plans to vote against Trump IRS nominee due to new Treasury guidance

Wyden plans to vote against Trump IRS nominee due to new Treasury guidance
© Greg Nash

Senate Finance Committee ranking Democrat Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenRestlessness, light rule-breaking and milk spotted on Senate floor as impeachment trial rolls on Hillicon Valley — Presented by Philip Morris International — UN calls for probe into alleged Saudi hack of Bezos | Experts see effort to 'silence' Washington Post | Bezos tweets tribute to Khashoggi Bezos tweets tribute to Khashoggi in wake of reports of Saudi phone hacking MORE (D-Ore.) on Tuesday said he will vote against President TrumpDonald John TrumpMnuchin knocks Greta Thunberg's activism: Study economics and then 'come back' to us The Hill's Morning Report - House prosecutes Trump as 'lawless,' 'corrupt' What to watch for on Day 3 of Senate impeachment trial MORE's nominee to lead the IRS, Charles Rettig, unless he promises to undo guidance the agency released late Monday reducing donor disclosure requirements for certain tax-exempt groups.

The new IRS guidance ends the requirement for tax-exempt groups such as issue-advocacy organizations to provide the agency with information about the names and addresses of donors.

Republicans praised the guidance, saying it will help to prevent the IRS from targeting organizations for their political beliefs.


But Wyden expressed concerns that the guidance will make it easier "for anonymous foreign donors to funnel dark money into nonprofits."

He noted that the IRS guidance came out on the same day that the Justice Department announced charges against Maria Butina, a Russian woman living in D.C. who is being accused of conspiring to act as an agent of the Russian government by infiltrating organizations with influence in American politics.

“[The guidance is] the latest attempt by [Treasury] Secretary [Steven] Mnuchin and Donald Trump to eliminate transparency and keep officials and lawmakers from following the money," Wyden said in a statement. "That’s why I’ll be opposing Charles Rettig, nominee to be IRS Commissioner, unless Mr. Rettig commits to restoring this critical disclosure requirement.”

The Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to vote on Rettig's nomination on Thursday.

The IRS guidance drops a requirement for many types of tax-exempt organizations, including social-welfare groups with tax-exempt status under 501(c)(4) of the tax code, to submit information about donors' identities on annual forms.

Charitable organizations are still required to submit this information to the IRS, and tax-exempt groups are still required to keep information about donors in their own records.

Senior Treasury officials on Tuesday, before Wyden released his statement, said the department decided to reduce the donor disclosure requirements because the IRS doesn't systematically use the donor information when administering the tax code.

They also said the new guidance would reduce the risk of taxpayer information from being inadvertently made public, and would save both government and private sector resources.