Ken Griffin Sues IRS Over Leaked Returns, Says Employees ‘Deliberately Stole’ Confidential Data
Billionaire hedge fund owner Ken Griffin has sued the IRS and the Treasury Department after his tax information was ‘unlawfully disclosed’ as part of a 2021 leak published in ProPublica.
In a Tuesday complaint filed in the Southern District of Florida, the Citadel founder and CEO accused the IRS of violating its “legal obligations to safeguard and protect his information from unauthorized disclosure,” and for willfully and intentionally failing to “establish appropriate administrative, technical or physical safeguards” to prevent such a leak, CNBC reports.
In its report, ProPublica – the recipient of the leaked data, revealed how top billionaires such as Elon Musk and Carl Ichan have been able to avoid paying federal taxes in certain years. The outlet said it the information was obtained via an anonymous source.
Griffin reported an average income of $1.7 billion between 2013 and 2018, according to the report.
One ProPublica article focused on Griffin’s opposition to an Illinois ballot measure – which he spent $54 million to oppose – which would have increased his state tax bill by over $50 million a year.
Griffin was not listed as one of the billionaires who paid zero or low tax rates in any one year, and, in fact, the ProPublica tax information showed Griffin pays a higher effective tax rate than many top earners. It also showed he was the second-largest American taxpayer between 2013 and 2018. -CNBC
According to the lawsuit, Griffin is “proud of his success and has always sought to pay his fair share of taxes,” but that after 2019, “IRS personnel exploited the IRS’s willful failure to establish adequate administrative, technical, and physical safeguards for the IRS’s data and records systems to misappropriate confidential tax return information for the highest earning U.S. taxpayers, including Mr. Griffin, and then unlawfully disclosed those materials to ProPublica for publication.“
The IRS inspector general and the DOJ have been investigating the leaks, but have yet to file charges. Republicans, meanwhile, say they’re frustrated by a lack of progress. In October, GOP members of the House Ways and Means Committee sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen which insisted that “the American people remain in the dark about who was responsible and how the Treasury Department allowed this to happen.”
Conservatives have also highlighted the leak in their opposition to the Biden administration’s $80 billion in additional funding, which was passed this summer.
Griffin notably spent $60 million during the midterm elections, becoming the second-largest donor to Republicans.
“IRS employees deliberately stole the confidential tax returns of several hundred successful American business leaders,” Griffin said in a statement. “It is unacceptable that government officials have failed to thoroughly investigate this unlawful theft of confidential and personal information. Americans expect our government to uphold the laws of our nation when it comes to our private and personal information – whether it be tax returns or health care records.”
Wed, 12/14/2022 – 11:36