Jim Jordan opens investigation into accusations IRS is using AI to spy on taxpayers 'en masse'

FIRST ON FOX: House Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, is launching an investigation alongside Rep. Harriet Hageman, R-Wyo., into whether the IRS is using artificial intelligence (AI) technology to improperly surveil American taxpayers across the country.

In a pair of letters sent to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Attorney General Merrick Garland, the lawmakers point to a September 2023 press release in which the IRS said AI “will help IRS compliance teams better detect tax cheating, identify emerging compliance threats and improve case selection tools to avoid burdening taxpayers with needless ‘no-change’ audits.”

“However, recent reporting alleges that the IRS’s use of AI has also included actively monitoring American citizens’ bank accounts en masse and without legal process,” they wrote, citing a report by James O’Keefe’s O’Keefe Media Group.


House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, is demanding answers from Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen about reports her department is using AI to surveil taxpayers. (Win McNamee/Sebastián Vivallo Oñate/Agencia Makro via Getty)

“Video footage obtained by an investigative media outlet appears to capture Alex Mena, an IRS official working in the agency’s Criminal Investigations Unit, admitting that the IRS has ‘a new system’ that uses AI to target ‘potential abusers’ by examining all returns, bank statements, and related financial information for ‘potential for fraud.’ Mena asserted that the new AI system has the ability to access and monitor ‘all the information from all the companies in the world.’”

In the video, the man purported to be IRS official Alex Mena says the IRS had no issue “going after the small people… Like destroying people’s lives.”


Rep. Harriet Hageman, R-Wyo., is also leading the inquiry. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

The IRS has pledged not to increase audit rates for people making under $400,000 per year.

“The Committee and Select Subcommittee have reason to believe that the IRS is working with other federal agencies to conduct this AI-powered warrantless financial surveillance,” Jordan and Hageman wrote.

Jordan and Hageman sent a similar letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

“The use of AI technology to actively monitor millions of Americans’ private transactions, bank accounts, and related financial information — without any legal process — is highly concerning. This kind of pervasive financial surveillance, carried out in coordination with federal law enforcement, into Americans’ private financial records raises serious doubts about the IRS’s — and the federal government’s — respect for Americans’ fundamental civil liberties.”

Fox News Digital reached out to the Treasury, the Justice Department and the IRS for comment.

Elizabeth Elkind is a politics reporter for Fox News Digital leading coverage of the House of Representatives. Previous digital bylines seen at Daily Mail and CBS News.

Follow on Twitter at @liz_elkind and send tips to [email protected]

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