By Allen Corbin
U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) announced on Thursday that their bipartisan legislation to help local law enforcement locate missing children.
The legislation would help law enforcement find missing children whose whereabouts could be discovered through basic information on federal tax returns was passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is currently barred from sharing taxpayer information with local law enforcement officials even though the IRS may have information about the location of a missing child in some cases.
"It is mind-boggling that the government possesses information to aid the search for an abducted or exploited child but is prevented from sharing that information with law enforcement because of archaic regulations.
Our bill would cut through this red tape and ensure that--in the cases where tax information is on hand to help in the search for an abducted child--it is made swiftly available to authorities," Sen. Cornyn said.
"As a former prosecutor, I know that returning missing children to their families is one of the most important tasks law enforcement officers have, and they need every tool available to track these children down and bring criminals to justice," Klobuchar said. "This action is an important step forward for this legislation to help cut red tape and provide police and prosecutors access to critical information that would help bring missing children home."
"I am pleased this bipartisan legislation has been approved by the Judiciary Committee and now will move to the Senate floor," said Leahy. "This commonsense bill will help state and local law enforcement agencies obtain useful information to investigate and prosecute cases involving missing and exploited children."
In some cases, as much as one-third of family abductors file federal tax returns claiming the abducted child according to a study from the Department of the Treasury.
The Access to Information about Missing Children Act would grant law enforcement authorities access to addresses from federal tax returns, as long as they obtain court orders from a federal district court.