Tax Reform: Uncovering the Backroom Deals

The White House and Republicans in Congress rushed through a massive overhaul of the federal tax code - but throughout the process, their talking points have not lined up with the details of the legislation. We're investigating the closed-door negotiations behind the tax bill to find out who promised what - and who will really benefit.

What We’re Seeking

  • Tax reform communications between Congress and senior officials at Treasury, the IRS, or OMB.
  • Communications or meetings between senior officials at Treasury, the IRS, or OMB and outside entities including the Heritage Foundation, Americans for Prosperity, Goldman Sachs, and the Chamber of Commerce.
  • Records from the Treasury Department of any “analysis” of the tax reform legislation.

Background

On December 20, 2017, Congress passed a sweeping bill to rewrite the tax code – dramatically cutting taxes for wealthy individuals and corporations while significantly increasing the budget deficit. The legislation was largely crafted behind closed doors without careful analysis – at one point, a version of the bill was edited with handwritten notes in the margin – and even some members of Congress who supported the bill have claimed they don’t know what it will really do.

After the first round of negotiations on the bill began in the summer of 2017, American Oversight launched an investigation to uncover the truth behind the talking points that were coming out of the White House and Congress. In October, we sued the Treasury Department and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to force the release of their communications with Congress regarding tax reform.

When the final legislation was passed in December, we submitted a third round of Freedom of Information Act requests to both agencies seeking their communications with Congress and outside groups. These FOIAs covered the time period between our initial requests and the final passage of the bill, and should shed light on how key tax breaks and loopholes were inserted into the legislation.

 

Related Documents

June 15, 2018

Congressional Communications Regarding Tax Reform

Office of Management and Budget
Agency Record
May 7, 2018

Records From Treasury of Congressional Communications Regarding Tax Reform

Department of the Treasury
Agency Record
April 13, 2018

U.S. House Motion to Intervene: American Oversight v. Treasury and OMB – Tax Reform

Department of the Treasury, Office of Management and Budget
Litigation
March 15, 2018

No Records Response From OMB

Office of Management and Budget
Agency Reply
February 16, 2018

OMB Tax Reform Communications with External Entities

Office of Management and Budget
Agency Record
January 16, 2018

Treasury Tax Reform Communications with External Entities

Department of the Treasury
Agency Record
December 20, 2017

Follow-Up FOIA to Treasury Regarding Tax Reform Stakeholders

Department of the Treasury
FOIA Request
December 20, 2017

Follow-Up FOIA to Treasury Regarding Tax Reform and Communications with Congress

Department of the Treasury
FOIA Request
December 20, 2017

Follow-Up FOIA to OMB Regarding Tax Reform

Office of Management and Budget
FOIA Request
December 20, 2017

Follow-Up FOIA to OMB Regarding Tax Reform and Communications with Congress

Office of Management and Budget
FOIA Request
December 14, 2017

NRR From IRS Regarding Tax Legislation

Internal Revenue Service
Agency Record
November 30, 2017

FOIA to Treasury Regarding Tax Reform Analysis

Department of the Treasury
FOIA Request
November 30, 2017

FOIA to Treasury Office of Secretary and Office of Legislative Affairs Regarding Tax Reform Analysis

Department of the Treasury
FOIA Request
November 30, 2017

FOIA to Treasury Office of the Secretary Seeking Records of Analysis of Impact of Tax Reform

Department of the Treasury
FOIA Request
November 30, 2017

FOIA to Treasury Office of Tax Policy Seeking Records Related to Tax Reform Impact Made Available to Outside Entities

Department of the Treasury
FOIA Request
November 7, 2017

NRR From IRS Regarding Tax Reform

Internal Revenue Service
Agency Reply
October 5, 2017

Complaint: American Oversight v. Treasury and OMB – Tax Reform

Department of the Treasury, Office of Management and Budget
Litigation
August 17, 2017

IRS Tax Reform Stakeholder Communications Final Response

Internal Revenue Service
Agency Reply
August 7, 2017

FOIA Request to Treasury Department Tax Legislation Treasury Staff to Third Party

Department of the Treasury
FOIA Request
August 7, 2017

FOIA Request to Treasury Department Tax Legislation Treasury Staff to Congress

Department of the Treasury
FOIA Request
August 7, 2017

FOIA Request to IRS Tax Legislation IRS Staff to Third Party

Internal Revenue Service
FOIA Request
August 7, 2017

FOIA Request to IRS Tax Legislation IRS Staff to Congress

Internal Revenue Service
FOIA Request
August 7, 2017

FOIA Request to OMB Tax Legislation OMB Staff to Third Party

Office of Management and Budget
FOIA Request
August 7, 2017

FOIA Request to OMB Tax Legislation OMB Staff to Congress

Office of Management and Budget
FOIA Request