After pressure from Washington lobbyists who seek to game the tax code on behalf of their clients, senators have been reportedly promised 50 years of secrecy on the deductions and credits they they will recommend be preserved when the Senate takes up tax reform legislation this fall.
According to The Hill, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), the panel’s ranking member, have “assured lawmakers that any submission they receive will be kept under lock and key by the committee and the National Archives until the end of 2064.”
Baucus and Hatch will be writing a tax reform bill this fall, and the Finance Committee’s “blank slate” process will put the “onus on lawmakers to argue for what credits and deductions should be preserved in a streamlined tax code.”
In addition, in order to prevent leaks, only 10 staffers will be able to review the submissions from senators, and “each submission will also be given its own ID number and be kept on both password-protected servers, with printed versions kept in locked safes.”
The Hill notes that more than a $1 trillion a year in tax benefits will be at stake. It claims there is “enormous pressure being brought to bear by K Street lobbyists, who are working furiously to protect their clients and the tax provisions that benefit them. “
In fact, since Baucus and Hatch announced the “blank slate” process, K Street has reportedly gone “into a lobbying frenzy that shows no signs of slowing down.”