Paul Blocks Tax Treaties in Stand Against Government Snooping

Paul Blocks Tax Treaties in Stand Against Government Snooping

In the current Washington environment where politicians on both sides happily subscribe to the “go-along-to-get-along” mentality, Rand Paul refuses to play along. Senator Paul is making the establishment agitated by doing what is right, not what is easy. Last week, he again blocked fellow Senators from a move to confirm five pending tax treaties that, Paul contends, would further erode privacy for Americans. Despite pressure from fellow congressmen, big business, and countless other self-serving entities, Paul places his allegiance squarely with the American people. Paul is a one man show in the Senate, doing what he can to curb ever-increasing government snooping.

These tax treaties are made under a little (or rather big) something known as the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, or FATCA. It was designed to target Americans who hide their money in offshore accounts to avoid paying taxes. The thing is, FACTA requires foreign financial institutions to report all American financial assets directly to the IRS. Senator Paul is concerned about further encroachment on civil liberties, namely the Fourth Amendment. Paul is aware that government snooping does not end on American borders, and that all Americans living here and abroad are entitled to privacy.

In a written address to the Senate’s Democratic leadership in early May, Paul declared:

“Our government is monitoring our email and cellphones, and they’re increasingly monitoring our bank account records — among the most private of an individual’s possessions.”

“An individual’s bank account is the epitome of who they are as a private citizen; a bank account reveals where someone is shopping, what foods they like, the medicines they’re taking, the doctors they’re visiting and the places they’re traveling.”

Paul understands that the impact of these treaties extends beyond catching tax cheats. And let’s be honest— the big fish of tax evasion have lawyers and loopholes to keep their assets well hidden.

Since Paul took office in 2010, no new tax treaties have been approved. According to Senate rules, it only takes one Senator to put the brakes on a motion from reaching the Senate floor. Many politicians talk publicly about the evils of government expansion, but behind closed doors they do little if anything to stop it. Paul is not like many politicians.

“The vast majority of Americans are law abiding,” Paul said on the Senate floor Wednesday. “They do have a right to privacy.”

“Previous tax treaties have required the government to get a warrant to obtain foreign bank records,” he said, “but this treaty allows the government to look into any accounts that might be used to avoid paying taxes. (The Hill)

In March, Senator Paul stated:

“These are people that are alleged, not convicted of doing anything wrong… I don’t think you should have everybody’s information from their bank. There should be some process: accusations and proof that you’ve committed a crime.” (Politico)

A process? Accusations and proof? Pfft. Mere trifles to many in the current administration, but not to Rand Paul. Senator Paul is not opposed to prosecuting tax cheats, but he is opposed to the growing tentacles of government snooping. Will Paul be able to stop yet another exercise in government overreach? Share your thoughts below. Follow us on Twitter or leave a comment on Facebook.

Written by Adam Michael Hamilton

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