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WaPo gives claim Biden IRS will ‘spy’ on bank records ‘3 Pinocchios,’ says will ‘monitor’ sum of transactions

The Washington Post released yet another so-called “fact-check” defending the Biden administration, this time addressing the uproar over the proposal for the IRS to heavily monitor bank transactions. 

Critics were howling after President Biden proposed keeping tabs on any bank deposit or withdrawal of $600 in an effort to combat tax evaders. Senate Democrats are expected to unveil a new plan that required financial institutions to annually report on transactions of more than $10,000.

The Post published an analysis piece “fact-checking” remarks made by GOP lawmakers who claim such a proposal would force Americans to “give up their privacy” and that it equates to the IRS “spying” on their bank accounts. 

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“Republicans said the plan would scoop up all of Americans’ ‘intimate financial details’ and hand them over to ‘spies’ working for the IRS. Nope,” Post “fact checker” Salvador Rizzo wrote. “The Democrats’ proposal was never that intrusive and now is much more limited. No intimate details about any transactions would be reported.”

FILE – In this May 7, 2021, file photo Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen speaks during a news briefing at the White House in Washington.  The Treasury Department announced Wednesday, Aug. 4,  it will raise $126 billion to finance the government in a series of auctions next week by employing emergency measures to keep from broaching the newly imposed debt limit.
(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

Rizzo spun the Biden proposal as “bulking up enforcement at the IRS” that would “bring in an estimated $320 billion over 10 years, according to the administration.” 

“IRS has little visibility into more-obscure income sources that are not tracked by third-party reporting, so these tax collections work pretty much on an honor system,” Rizzo said of the policy. 

The “fact-checker” cited the U.S. Treasury’s “fact sheet,” stressing that the plan “does not include reporting on individual transactions of any amount” but rather “how much money went into the account over the course of the year, and how much came out.”

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He also quoted a tax legal analyst from the “left-leaning Center for Budget and Policy Priorities” who declared Republican criticism of the plan as “complete fabrications” as well as a policy analyst from the “right-leaning Tax Foundation” who warned that the plan “may trigger audits” and questioned how the Treasury can feasibly focus on individuals making at least $400,000 as initially intended but was scrapped from the proposal by Senate Democrats. 

“Republican senators including [Idaho’s Mike] Crapo and [Louisiana’s John] Kennedy claimed that under the Democrats’ tax enforcement plan, the IRS would be snooping on the sensitive financial details contained in Americans’ bank records. The burden of proof is on the speaker, as we like to remind our readers, but in this case, no proof was supplied,” Rizzo wrote. “In reality, the proposal is to monitor the total amount of money going in and out of any bank account with more than $10,000 of transactions in a given year, not the blow-by-blow of where and when people spend their money.”

The “fact-check” resulted in “Three Pinocchios.”

The article, titled, “No, Biden isn’t proposing that the IRS spy on bank records,” was shared on Twitter by multiple Biden administration officials, including White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki. Critics, however, weren’t convinced by the Post. 

“It’s the classic Democrat playbook: They face pushback, and then use the media to deny, deny, deny,” Rep. Drew Ferguson, R-Ga., reacted. “They know the American people won’t stand for the IRS snooping through their bank accounts, and Democrats are backpedaling so hard they’re getting whiplash.”

“Yes, it’s spying. Even by the Post’s lame rationalization. A $10,000 annual baseline is almost anyone who pays rent or a mortgage in America,” Media Research Center’s Dan Gainor tweeted.

“Another debate in which media Democrats say that highly invasive activities carried out by the government against individual citizens does not count as ‘spying,'” Washington Free Beacon reporter Chuck Ross wrote.

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“SIRI: Why do [fewer] people than ever before trust the corporate press?” GOP strategist Andrew Surabian asked.

“It’s not spying if he’s telling you he wants to see in your bank account, don’t you see?” radio host Chris Stigall mocked. 

“Instead of fact checks of ridiculous claims, it would be a whole lot better if the press informed people what it would do and that even at a $10K level, you’re likely getting flagged by the IRS.” Washington Examiner Magazine managing editor Jay Caruso tweeted. 

“Reminder: ‘Factchecking’ is the most dishonest form of opinion journalism,” National Review senior writer David Harsanyi wrote.

FOX Business’ Megan Henney contributed to this report. 

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