Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Wednesday evening that he would be launching an investigation on the top 25 wealthiest Americans after ProPublica released an article revealing that billionaires like Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, and Bill Gates pay little in income taxes.
Garland discussed with members of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies what he described to be “astonishing” circumstances concerning the source of the IRS breach.
“I promise you, it will be at the top of my list,” Garland assured Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, during a budget hearing before the Senate Appropriations Committee.
On Tuesday, ProPublica released findings revealing that in more than 15 years, billionaires such as Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, and businessmen Michael Bloomberg, Carl Icahn, and George Soros paid no federal income taxes.
“This is an extremely serious matter. Garland told members of a Senate appropriations committee.
“This was on my list of things to raise after I finished preparing for this hearing, and I promise you will be at the top of my list,” Garland told Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine).
The published article exposed how much in taxes the financial giants paid each year to how much Forbes estimated their wealth grew in that same time period.
Writers described that the tax strategies used by these individuals it cited appeared to be perfectly legal. ProPublica explained in a separate article that the purpose of the investigation was to “demolish the cornerstone myth of the American tax system: that everyone pays their fair share and the richest Americans pay the most.”
The nonprofit news organization said it didn’t know the source of information and didn’t solicit it.
Although these citizens are among the wealthiest Americans, they are still private citizens, and those who disclosed the documents could be subject to criminal liability.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who has previously lobbied for reformed tax regulations, responded via Twitter, saying, “That’s just not right. I spoke with @AbigailDisney (Abigail Disney) about why we need a #WealthTax for ultra-millionaires. I’ve got a bill for one ready to go.”
Billionaires like Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, and Warren Buffett pay a tiny fraction of their wealth in taxes compared to working families. That’s just not right. I spoke with @AbigailDisney about why we need a #WealthTax for ultra-millionaires. I’ve got a bill for one ready to go. pic.twitter.com/y6BPulR8yH
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) June 8, 2021
A Treasury spokesperson confirmed that the breach was referred to the FBI and other relevant federal agencies for investigation on Tuesday.
Throughout Donald Trump’s presidency, many of his adversaries ran their respective campaigns on the promise of bringing about legislation to force the rich to pay more. With the transition of power, Democrats are pushing full steam ahead to push new legislation against the financial giants.