WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — Lawmakers are demanding answers into how private tax documents leaked to ProPublica and became the basis for their bombshell report about high-profile wealthy Americans paying less in income tax by percentage than most working class people.
“What this data reveals is that the country’s wealthiest who profited immensely during the pandemic, have not been paying their fair share,” Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden said. “I’ll have a proposal to change that.”
Wyden sounds a lot like the reporter who broke this story.
“It’s basically because our system is set up in a way where the ultra-wealthy do not pay their fair share,” ProPublica reporter Jesse Eisinger told NBC news.
ProPublica invented a calculation they call the true tax rate, highlighting the appreciation in stock of Warren Buffett, Jeff Bezos and Elon musk to make a calculation even the IRS doesn’t use.
“Frankly, I’ve never really heard that before,” Douglas Charnas, a corporate and tax attorney, told NewsNation. “But we don’t tax people simply because their assets increase in value. We wait until there is a specific event, typically a sale or exchange of those assets to tax them.
ProPublica’s reporting on the wealthiest of Americans’ taxes comes just as a debate on America’s largest tax increase in decade starts in Congress.
“This comes through as supporting evidence that the rich aren’t paying their fair share,” former George W Bush speechwriter Bill McGurn said on Fox News. “Now we’ve heard the fair share argument for 40 years. I remember it back during the Reagan days, but they never say what the fair share is right? Is it 10%? Is it 30%? Is it 60%? What it means when a Democrat uses fair share, it just means more.”
Publishing for political reasons isn’t criminal, but accessing and leaking secret IRS records is.
“First off, it’s absolutely a crime under federal law,” attorney Andrew Stoltmann said. “It’s also a felony and it’s punishable by up to five years in prison.”
ProPublica says there are more records to come, but even if the wealthy Americans sue there’s likely no way to prevent them from being published.