Paul L. Caron

Monday, February 28, 2022

NY Times: Treasury Is Asked To Investigate Its Hiring Of Tax Lawyers From Big Accounting Firms

Following up on my previous post, NY Times: Tax Lawyers At Top Accounting Firms Cycle In And Out Of Top Treasury Posts And Reap Huge Reward For Their Clients And Themselves:  New York Times, Treasury Is Asked to Investigate Its Hiring of Lawyers From Big Accounting Firms:

Big 5A pair of Democratic lawmakers asked the Treasury Department’s inspector general on Tuesday to investigate the revolving door between the country’s biggest accounting firms and key policy positions at the Treasury.

Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Representative Pramila Jayapal of Washington were prompted by an investigation published by The New York Times in September detailing how giant accounting firms embed top lawyers inside the government to draft tax rules that benefit their clients.

The Times found at least 35 examples in which lawyers at the country’s biggest accounting firms left to join the government, largely in the Treasury’s tax policy office, and then returned to their old firm.

The Times found that while in the government, many of those lawyers granted tax breaks to their former firms’ clients, softened efforts to clamp down on tax shelters and approved loopholes used by their former firms. In nearly half the examples, the officials were promoted to partner upon rejoining their old firm.

The pattern has been repeated in both Democratic and Republican administrations, including those of Donald J. Trump, Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

Since October, the two lawmakers collected information from five accounting firms — PwC, EY, Deloitte, RSM and KPMG — detailing the phenomenon. ...

In their letter, the lawmakers asked the agency to investigate a number of areas, including the extent to which the firms, “via the employees placed at the Treasury Department and I.R.S., may have an untoward influence over department and agency policies or may obtain information or influence that provides their clients with an untoward advantage.” They also sought information on the employees’ “rewards” after rejoining their firms, as well as the policies at the Treasury, the I.R.S. and the firms to prevent abuse.

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