McConnell blasts ProPublica tax leak, says whoever is responsible should be ‘hunted down and thrown into jail’

McConnell
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Samuel Corum/Getty Images
  • Sen. Mitch McConnell criticized the leakers of sensitive tax information to ProPublica.
  • “These people ought to, whoever did this, ought to be hunted down and thrown into jail,” he said.
  • ProPublica reported how high earners have avoided paying a substantial amount of income taxes.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky on Monday called for legal action against anyone who was responsible for leaking the tax records of the super wealthy to ProPublica.

In a recent ProPublica report, the publication detailed how billionaires such as Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, and Warren Buffett have largely avoided paying a substantial amount of income taxes.

The report cited “an anonymous source” who provided the publication “with large amounts of information on the ultrawealthy, everything from the taxes they paid to the income they reported to the profits from their stock trades.”

During an interview on conservative host Hugh Hewitt’s radio show, McConnell rebuked the disclosure of the tax records of some of the most affluent Americans in the country and called for consequences for the perpetrators.

“My guess is the IRS, somebody at the IRS leaked this in order to affect the tax debate and remind people that there are some very wealthy Americans,” he said. “There are some very wealthy Americans. But it’s important to remember we don’t tax wealth.”

McConnell added: “Our tax returns are, by law, confidential because of just this kind of shenanigans. These people ought to, whoever did this, ought to be hunted down and thrown into jail.”

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On Monday, McConnell, in addition to Sens. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Mike Crapo of Idaho, sent a letter asking the Justice Department to investigate the leak, Fox News reported.

“Taxpayers have the right to expect that any information they provide to the IRS will not be disclosed unless authorized by the taxpayer or by law,” they wrote.

In the ProPublica report, the publication calculated a “true tax rate” by comparing how much in taxes were paid by the 25 wealthiest Americans to the growth in their wealth as estimated by Forbes.

Using data from 2014 to 2018, ProPublica said that the true tax rates for Bezos, Musk, and Buffett were 0.98%, 3.27%, and 0.10%, respectively.