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The IRS chief refers Comey, McCabe’s audit decision to the inspector general for review

The IRS chief refers Comey, McCabe’s audit decision to the inspector general for review

“The IRS has referred the matter to the Treasury Inspector General of the Tax Administration for review. The IRS Commissioner (Charles) Rettig made personal contact with TIGTA after receiving a press release,” the IRS said in a statement.

The agency is under investigation following a report by The New York Times on Wednesday that the IRS conducted intensive tax audits of McCabe and Comey, both fierce critics of former President Donald Trump, under his administration.

McCabe told CNN on Thursday that he thinks “referring it to IG is the right step, but let’s see if IG goes ahead with it and then publishes their findings.”

CNN has contacted Comey for a comment on the reference.

Individuals must be chosen at random for the audits. The Times noted that the odds of a person being elected to a revision of the National Research Program in 2017 are about one in 30,600, raising questions about how two of Trump’s most visible critics were both elected.

McCabe, a CNN police analyst, had called for an investigation and told CNN’s Laura Coates on “Don Lemon Tonight” that “people need to be able to trust government institutions, and that’s why there should be someone – we should dig through this and find out what happened. ”
McCabe says an investigation should be launched into how he and Comey were selected for IRS audits

The IRS on Thursday also reiterated its earlier statement, which denied any “politically motivated revisions” in a statement to CNN.

“Federal privacy laws exclude us from discussing specific taxpayer situations. Audits are handled by career officials, and the IRS has strong security measures in place to protect the exam process – and against politically motivated audits,” the agency said.

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“It is ridiculous and untrue to suggest that senior IRS officials somehow targeted specific individuals for revisions of the National Research Program,” it added.

Right, a Trump nominee, has headed the IRS since 2018. The agency said in a statement to the Times that he has no role in selecting candidates for audits, and the newspaper noted that how taxpayers are selected for the intensive audits is not known outside the IRS .

The reaction from legislators has been quick, and the referral has received bipartisan support.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, said in a statement that “Donald Trump has no respect for the rule of law, so if he tried to subject his political enemies to further scrutiny by the IRS, it would not surprise anyone.”

“We have to understand what happened here because it raises serious concerns,” he said.

The head of the House Ways and Means Committee, Richard Neal, a Massachusetts Democrat, said he spoke with the Inspector General on Thursday and urged his office to “immediately conduct a comprehensive investigation. The public needs to know the extent of this offense, and bad actors” should be held accountable. “

The referral also garnered praise from the committee’s top Republican, Texas Representative Kevin Brady, who said in a statement: to the Financial Controller of the IRS, and I support investigating all allegations of political targeting. ”

CNN has contacted Trump representatives for comment. The former president, through a spokesman, said in a statement to the Times: “I have no knowledge of this.”

This story has been updated with further details on Thursday.

CNN’s Devan Cole and Paul LeBlanc contributed to this report.

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