Billionaire Taking IRS To Court

( Hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin has sued the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service over the “unlawful disclosure” of his tax information, further escalating the battle over the leaked tax filings of billionaires that were published by ProPublica last year.

In a complaint filed last Tuesday in the Southern District of Florida, the Citadel founder accused the IRS of violating its “legal obligations to safeguard and protect his information from unauthorized disclosure” and intentionally failing to “establish appropriate administrative, technical or physical safeguards” of its record system.

Griffin was among the billionaires whose tax records were published in a 2021 ProPublica series examining the taxes paid by America’s super-wealthy. The series also featured the tax information for Warren Buffett, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, and Carl Icahn, among others.

ProPublica reported that the IRS tax data used was provided by an anonymous source and to this day, it remains unclear how the data was obtained by the outlet.

In his lawsuit, Griffin alleges that in or after 2019, personnel at the IRS “exploited” the agency’s “willful failure” to establish adequate safeguards for its data and records systems “to misappropriate confidential tax return information” for America’s highest-earning taxpayers, including Griffin, “and then unlawfully disclosed those materials to ProPublica for publication.”

ProPublica’s publishing of leaked tax returns sparked outrage in Washington. Despite the IRS Inspector General and the Justice Department investigating the disclosures, no findings or charges have been released.

In October, Republican members of the House Ways and Means Committee sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen demanding to know who was responsible for the leak “and how the Treasury Department allowed this to happen.”

In a statement last week, Griffin accused IRS employees of deliberately stealing the confidential tax records “of several hundred successful American business leaders.” He blasted federal officials for failing to “thoroughly investigate this unlawful theft,” saying the American people expect the federal government “to uphold the laws” protecting citizens’ “private and personal information.”