(The Center Square) – Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said Friday he has joined 19 other attorneys general in a letter that asks the Biden administration to stop a policy they say would allow the federal government access to nearly every American’s bank account.
The attorneys general point to President Joe Biden's plan to beef up IRS auditing, including requiring all banks, credit unions and financial institutions to report information to the IRS on every bank account that has a balance of at least $600 and exceeds $600 a year in transactions.
The policy proposal has yet to be finalized, but U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said this week it's still on the table though the $600 figure is negotiable. Democrats say the plan would help catch tax evaders and pay for their $3.5 trillion spending package.
“This makes the IRS more powerful than the police – even the cops have to at least issue a subpoena. Even the police have to have a reasonable, articulable suspicion before they can ‘stop-and-frisk.’ ” Yost said. “This anti-American bill allows real-time spying by the government on law-abiding citizens – all of us, all the time. It must not become law.”
The attorneys general argue the policy would force banks to transform the way they conduct business to meet reporting requirements and consumers would be punished if banks pass on new costs associated with data collection and other systems.
The group said it would be willing to help find other solutions to stopping financial crimes and tax evasion.
“This proposal stands in direct opposition to privacy that Americans are entitled to and deserve,” the letter reads. "The Federal Government combing through almost every American’s bank account without cause, or even suspicion, is unacceptable, illegal and contrary to the well-founded constitutional principles against illegal searches and seizures.
“If stopping financial criminals or punishing those who evade taxes is the goal of the administration, we will gladly join you to find the right solutions based on the rule of law, but we are certain that violating the privacy of virtually every American with a bank account is not the answer.”
In addition to Ohio, the coalition includes the attorneys general of Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and West Virginia.