Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., and ranking member Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, have promised lawmakers 50 years of secrecy if they submit their preferences and justifications for which tax expenditures to save as the committee considers tax reform legislation, a Finance Committee aide has confirmed. The deadline for submissions is July 26 and many senators have declined to participate.
Baucus and Hatch have assured their colleagues that their submissions will not be released by either the committee or the National Archives before the end of 2064. Each submission will be assigned an ID number and stored on password-protected servers. Printed versions will be kept in a locked safe. A Finance Committee aide confirmed that Baucus and Hatch want to prove to senators that privacy is a priority.
Committee staff alerted lawmakers to the promise in a memo dated July 19. ”The letter was done at the request of offices to provide some assurance that the committee would not make their submissions public,” the aide said. ”Sens. Baucus and Hatch are going out of their way to assure their colleagues they will keep the submissions in confidence.” The aide added that the 50-year guarantee of privacy is ”standard operating procedure for sensitive materials including investigation materials.” A memo that indicates the cost of certain tax expenditures has also been distributed, the aide confirmed.
By Jeff Carlson, CCH News Staff