By Jake Sheridan, Chicago Tribune (TNS)

Multibillionaire Ken Griffin filed a lawsuit against the IRS Tuesday, claiming the agency violated his privacy rights after investigative news outlet ProPublica reported in April about the former Republican megadonor and Chicagoan’s taxes. .

Griffin’s income and taxes were reported by ProPublica along with similar information for the richest people in the United States. The store said they did not know who shared the tax information with them and did not ask for the documents they received.

Griffin, who founded the hedge fund Citadel, demanded a jury trial in his lawsuit. He said the tax agency was responsible for the “unlawful release” of its tax returns due to its “willful and willful failure” to install safeguards on its filing system, the records in a statement filed Tuesday in the United States District Court for the Southern District of the United States. Florida show.

“The IRS is and has been well aware of these issues for some time,” Griffin lamented. “Despite these warnings, the IRS continues to willfully and deliberately fail to put in place adequate safeguards to protect Mr. Griffin and other taxpayers’ confidential tax return information.”

Griffin called for the IRS to pay legal fees, $1,000 for each unauthorized disclosure under the law and an unspecified amount for damages. He filed suit with the law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, and the case was assigned to Judge Robert N. Scola Jr.

Griffin spent $54 million to fight the graduated state income tax plan that Illinois voters rejected in 2020. The amendment would have changed the state’s tax bill to significantly raise rates on the wealthiest taxpayers in Illinois. ProPublica reported in July that Griffin could save $51 million a year over his previous income because the amendment did not pass.

The outlet also reported in an April article sharing information on hundreds of wealthy Americans that Griffin paid an average effective federal tax rate of 29.2% on $1 ,68 billion annually between 2013 and 2018, the fourth-highest average annual income in the country over the period. the period. Griffin paid the second largest amount of federal income taxes of any taxpayer, the report said.

ProPublica on its website cites a “massive pool” of tax records it has obtained, covering thousands of America’s wealthiest people. It used the documents to report on super-rich household names such as Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk and wrote that the articles “reveal how the richest avoid income tax”.

ProPublica noted in a statement to the Tribune that it published a story on Tuesday about the lawsuit. The outlet has already explained its decision to release the personal data.

“We do this – selectively and carefully – because we believe that it serves the public interest in a fundamental way, allowing readers to see patterns that have been hidden until now,” said the head of ProPublica editor Stephen Engelberg and former president Richard Tofel. The first outlet published an article highlighting the news.

The mall declined to comment on how it obtained the tax information or comment on the leak investigation.

The IRS did not immediately respond to a request sent Tuesday for comment on the lawsuit.

In his court filing, Griffin said IRS officials failed to provide more information about the investigation into the release of tax documents.

Griffin released a statement through a spokesperson on Wednesday.

“IRS agents knowingly stole the confidential tax returns of hundreds of successful American business leaders,” Griffin said. “It is unacceptable that public officials failed to conduct a thorough investigation into this illegal theft of confidential and personal information. Americans expect our government to uphold our country’s laws when it comes to our personal and private information – whether it’s tax returns or health records. “

Some congressional Republicans have also criticized the IRS for the leak and its failure to explain how the taxes came in. Griffin is a top Republican donor, spending $50 million on candidates in Illinois’ Republican primary this year. He moved his fund from Chicago to Florida a few days before the primary, which hit the candidates he chose hard.

(Photo by E. Jason Wambsgans/TNS)

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