WASHINGTON (AP) – Congress has not voted to exempt its members from IRS audits of their personal finances, according to spokespeople for the IRS, the Speaker of the House, and the House Ways and Means Committee.
The unsupported claim that U.S. lawmakers voted to exempt themselves from IRS audits spread online this week after a tweet from an account that has posted numerous bogus claims was interpreted as real. “BREAKING,” read the Aug. 17 tweet, which amassed more than 13,000 shares. “In order to safeguard democracy, Congress has voted to exempt itself and its members from upcoming IRS audits.”
Hours later, the same account hinted that it had been a joke, writing that “a shocking number of American adults” can’t spell or recognize the word “satire.” Still, the tweet was not deleted or labeled and the false claim has since circulated as real on Twitter and Instagram.
A review of recent legislation passed in Congress found no bills matching this claim. The Inflation Reduction Act, which became law last week and sparked an onslaught of misinformation about the IRS, did not include any such provision.
Terry Lemons, communications and liaison chief at the IRS, confirmed to The Associated Press that the claim was false, and that “all tax filers are treated equally under the tax law.” Henry Connelly, a spokesperson for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, said the claim was “nonsense.” Dylan Peachey, a spokesperson for the House Ways and Means Committee, also confirmed the claim was false.
Associated Press writer Ali Swenson in New York contributed this report.