Senator Jon Tester is demanding that the IRS stop gathering Americans' personal emails without a warrant - a violation of their constitutional rights.
Tester takes issue with existing IRS policy that says the agency has the authority to obtain some private electronic communications without having to obtain a warrant. He told IRS Commissioner Steven Miller that the IRS's policy is a clear violation of the U.S. Constitution's Fourth Amendment that prohibits unreasonable search and seizure.
"Today, millions of Americans use the Internet for all facets of life," Tester wrote Miller. "It defies common sense that some emails should receive fewer legal protections than a letter filed in a drawer. We urge the IRS to provide further details and a timetable to update policies to adhere to Americans' constitutional rights."
Miller recently told a Senate committee that the IRS is updating its policies to abide by a recent court ruling. But Tester argued that the Internal Revenue Manual still states that a warrant is not required for emails older than 180 days.
Tester, a strong advocate for Montanans' civil liberties, has repeatedly voted against the PATRIOT Act and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that expands the government's ability to spy on law-abiding Americans.
The full text of the letter is available below: