Senators promise colleagues 50 years of secrecy in exchange for suggestions on tax reform, "making secrecy a priority"


what's the big secret

You know, the one thing I've been wishing for is more secrecy from our elected officials, because gee, who really needs transparency anyway? Especially when it comes to tax reform and being aware of which U.S. Senator supports which policies.

Yes, by all means, the more secrecy the better. America first!

weeee smaller

The Hill:

The Senate's top tax writers have promised their colleagues 50 years worth of secrecy in exchange for suggestions on what deductions and credits to protect in tax reform.

Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and the panel’s top Republican, Sen. Orrin Hatch (Utah), have assured lawmakers that any submission they receive will not be released by either the committee or the National Archives before the end of 2064.

Deeming the submissions confidential, the Senate’s top tax writers have said only certain staff members will get access to a senator’s written suggestions. Each submission will also be given its own ID number and be kept on both password-protected servers, with printed versions kept in a locked safe.

The promise of confidentiality was revealed just two days before the deadline for senators to participate in the Finance Committee’s “blank slate” process, which puts the onus on lawmakers to argue for what credits and deductions should be preserved in a streamlined tax code.

The piece goes on to say that Baucus and Hatch were "trying to prove to colleagues that they were making secrecy a priority."

A priority. Of course. Forget about allowing the rest of us in on what you're up to.

Keeping the submissions confidential for a half century, the aide added, was “standard operating procedure for sensitive materials including investigation materials.”

Okay, I get that their motivation was to get all the senators engaged, but providing fifty years of secrecy doesn't do much to instill confidence in the honesty and intentions of our Congress members. And as The Hill noted, "blowback from interest groups and businesses" is a concern.

How about ignoring the lobbyists, just this once? How about showing some spine and concern by unambiguously standing up for the welfare of all Americans? Rhetorical, and yes, I know, I know, totally unrealistic. But sometimes that pesky wishful thinking just slips out.

wishful thinking fingers crossed smaller

  • Squatlo

    As menacing as this sounds (fifty years in the Cone of Silence for your suggestions) I'm beginning to think the only way we'll ever get anything done in Congress anymore is with some type of anonymous suggestion box. They can't speak from the heart or do things that are best for the country without risking a rightwing primary or a leftwing revolt, so they parrot the party lines and nothing gets done. Maybe having them make policy from secret booths is the best way to get them to do the right thing. One caveat to all of that: make their final votes on any legislation VERY public.

  • KABoink_after_wingnut_hacker

    So it's come to this, has it?
    Our elected officials now have to hide like schoolboys afraid of being caught by their parents with a playboy magazine.
    If we have to resort this type of nonsense in our government, then we ain't got much of a democracy.

  • pigboy

    Now I think about it. I wonder if Senator Warren or the other progessive Dems can put a stop to this.

  • pigboy

    Goddamn Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.). I thought we were done with him. The son of a bitch screwed us on single payer. Now this. How much you wanna bet this is an ALEC deal? And how much you wanna bet foriegn corporations will be voting on those secret tax laws that will not only exempt them from taxes but give them big tax rebates for raping this nation and it's infrastructure. Mean while our schools, roads, water systems and much more fall apart.