Despite a court preservation order, the IRS has wiped the hard drive of their former director of transfer pricing operations, Samuel Maruca. Maruca is connected to the agency’s controversial retainer of law firm Quinn Emanuel. The IRS privately contracted the litigation firm to assist in an audit of a corporate taxpayer, overlooking the firm’s lack of any experience managing sensitive tax data. The IRS has faced criticism for its decision, specifically from Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT)43%

In a letter to the IRS, Senator Hatch voiced his concern that the agency’s $2.2 million tax-payer funded contract with the outside firm was completely unnecessary; the IRS currently employs 40,000 individuals trained to manage taxpayer data and audits, as well as the expertise of the Chief Counsel and Department of Justice attorney. To protect taxpayers, there are strict regulations from Congress that limit the necessary functions of the auditing process — including acquiring sworn testimony — to officers of the Treasury Department. According to Senator Hatch, the IRS neglected to follow protocol when they hired the outside firm without first requesting authorization from Congress to do so. The Finance Committee has never before seen such functions relegated to private contractors. FULL REPORT