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Two Congressmen Seek Investigation into Trump’s Alleged Attempts to Wield IRS as Cudgel

S.J. Steinhardt
Published Date:
Nov 16, 2022

Two congressional Democrats are demanding an investigation into a New York Times report that former President Donald Trump wanted the IRS to investigate his perceived enemies, Accounting Today reported.

On Monday, the Times reported that the president repeatedly told his chief of staff at the time, John F. Kelly, that “we ought to investigate” and “get the  IRS on” former FBI director James B. Comey and his deputy, Andrew G. McCabe. Last summer, the Times reported that each man was selected for a National Research Program (NRP) review, a rare, random and intensive audit to which very few tax filers are subjected. Comey’s audit was for 2017 and McCabe’s was for 2019.

Kelly left the White House in 2018.

In a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland, U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-N.J.) wrote, “We now have yet more evidence that Donald Trump sought to weaponize the IRS to target his perceived political enemies. This is a major scandal.”

“The American people need to know that IRS is not subject to political influence and is focused on administering our tax system with competence and honesty,” Pascrell wrote. “This cannot happen without a full investigation of criminal corruption at the IRS by Mr. Trump.”

The Times also reported that Trump wanted the IRS and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate others, such as former CIA Director John Brennan, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. Those revelations prompted U.S. Rep. Richard E. Neal (D-Mass.), chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, to write a letter to IRS Acting Commissioner Douglas O’Donnell, requesting that he “provide a report on whether each of these individuals has been selected for an examination, audit, or other compliance initiative at any time from 2017-2022.”

Reps. Neal and Pascrell—who is chair of the Ways and Means’ subcommittee on oversight—also co-wrote a letter to Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) J. Russell George about the allegations. Noting that TIGTA had opened an investigation in the wake of the July Times story, the pair asked TIGTA to expand the investigation, given the new information contained in the recent story.

“When the first story broke, [now former] Commissioner Rettig said that he reached out to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration regarding the matter,” they wrote. “This time, we are reaching out to TIGTA. … The actions of former President Trump continue to undermine public confidence in full and fair tax administration and this 'enemies list' is just the most recent example."

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