February 29,2024

Wyden Statement on Marjorie Rollinson’s Confirmation as IRS Chief Counsel

As Prepared for Delivery

In a few minutes the Senate will vote on the confirmation of Marjorie Rollinson to serve as Chief Counsel of the Internal Revenue Service. I’ll have just a few key points about why my colleagues ought to support her nomination.

First off, Ms. Rollinson has the right experience necessary to do this job at a high level.  She has decades of tax and management experience, both in the private sector and in public service. In fact, after many years in private practice, she spent several years of the last decade in the IRS Office of Chief Counsel.

First she served as Technical Deputy Associate Chief Counsel and then as Associate Chief Counsel, both times on international tax issues. And trust me, you don’t earn those job titles without real expertise in tax law, down to the finest details that leave most of us scratching our heads. All this experience is a big reason why she got bipartisan support in the Finance Committee.

Second, when you’re talking about Chief Counsel, the heart of this job is all about making sure the IRS is implementing and enforcing tax law by the books. My view is, that ought to be an appealing proposition no matter whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican. Every member of the Senate has an interest in ensuring that the laws we passed are implemented as intended.

One of the big implementation jobs in the works -- something I’m following closely -- deals with a key part of the Inflation Reduction Act, specifically the rules on incentives for energy production. This was the centerpiece of the Finance Committee’s Clean Energy for America Act, a bill I first introduced in 2015. It was about breaking away from the old energy tax system that picked winners and losers, and propped up old, carbon-intensive technologies. The new approach is tech-neutral. The goal is reducing carbon emissions, so that’s what the tax code will incentivize.

The administration has worked through a lot of challenging rulemaking since the Congress passed the Inflation Reduction Act. Tech-neutral is next. It’s essential to get this guidance out there so that taxpayers and clean energy producers can take full advantage of the law. I’m going to continue to work with the administration to get this done, and Ms. Rollinson will play a key role in that as IRS chief counsel once she’s confirmed.

If confirmed, she will also be closely involved in the effort to refocus tax enforcement so that there’s a greater effort to crack down on those at the top who cheat on their taxes. For too long, the burden of audits has weighed too heavily on the little guy -- particularly low-income families who get scammed by unscrupulous tax preparers or who make simple errors claiming tax credits.

It’s going to take time to build up the manpower and expertise needed to crack down on the sophisticated, wealthy tax cheats who pay for the best tax lawyers and accountants. But this is just a matter of basic fairness.

Members on both sides have said they want to make sure the IRS funding won’t lead to an increase in audits for working and middle class families. I agree. The focus ought to be on billion-dollar partnerships and mega-corporations rather than single parents and mom-and-pop restaurants. We can be even more sure of that once there’s a confirmed chief counsel on the job.

Marjorie Rollinson is an excellent pick for this job. She’s experienced, she’s highly qualified and she’s got the technical expertise. She’ll also be the first woman to serve in this role. Her nomination has garnered bipartisan support in the Finance Committee and deserves bipartisan support on the Senate floor. So I urge my colleagues to vote to approve the Rollinson nomination, and I yield the floor.