Senate Finance Chairman William Roth, R-Del., plans to review IRS intrusions into taxpayers' privacy -- along with what he sees as its unnecessarily aggressive seizure of property and unjustified audits of middle-class taxpayers -- as part of a wide-ranging investigation into the agency, The Los Angeles Times reports today.
"The agency as a whole does not enjoy the confidence of the American public," Roth told the newspaper. "It is looked upon too often as being abusive and having practices that are not fair and equitable."
Roth has requested $300,000 in his new committee budget for the investigation, but the Senate Rules Committee has not decided whether to give him that much. The IRS already is waiting for recommendations from a congressionally mandated restructuring panel that are expected this summer.
IRS Commissioner Margaret Milner Richardson, who plans to leave this spring, told the Times last week she already spends 40 percent of her time responding to oversight questions from Congress and the Treasury, and said Congress can not seem to decide whether it wants a strong or weak tax collection agency.