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Istook denies asking for tax return provision

Rep. Ernest J. Istook (R-Oklahoma) denied on Monday that he was responsible for a controversial provision in the omnibus appropriations that critics said would allow Congressional staff to look at anyone's tax return.

Both Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tennessee) and a spokesperson for the House Appropriations Committee said Istook asked for the language. They said it was harmless and would only allow staff access to IRS facilities.

But uproar over the provision and the secretive way in which it was inserted forced Istook to deny responsibility. House sources told The Washington Post that it was the IRS which drafted it.

The Senate agreed to repeal the language and the House is expected to do the same this week before the $388 billion package is sent to President Bush for his signature.

Get the Story:
Spending Bill Held Up by Tax Provision (The Washington Post 11/23)
Panel Chief Denies Knowing About Item on Inspecting Tax Returns (The New York Times 11/23)
Stevens backs Democrats' call for spending-bill probe (The Anchorage Daily News 11/23)
G.O.P. Says Motive for Tax Clause in Budget Bill Was Misread (The New York Times 11/22)

Funding Tables:

Bill Language:

Statements on Funding:

Consolidated Appropriations Act:
Bill Text | Joint Explanatory Statement | HR 4818

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