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The IRS is asking the Inspector General to review audits of Comey and McCabe

The IRS is asking the Inspector General to review audits of Comey and McCabe

The IRS said Thursday that it had asked the Inspector General of Taxation to investigate how James B. Comey, the former FBI director, and his deputy, Andrew G. McCabe – both perceived as enemies of former President Donald J. Trump – came to be met with rare, exhaustive audits that the agency says should be random.

The IRS has referred the matter to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration for review, “the agency said in a written statement, adding that its commissioner, Charles P. Rettig, had” personally contacted “the inspector general after learning about the audits.

The revelation from the IRS came the day after The New York Times reported that Mr. Comey and Mr. McCabe had been the subject of audits that target only several thousand Americans a year and are highly invasive.

In 2017, the tax year Mr. Comey was audited for, the IRS says they randomly selected around 5,000 returns for the audit of the 153 million people who sent them. For 2019, the year Mr. McCabe was audited for, the agency says it selected around 8,000 returns out of the around 154 million that were submitted.

It is not clear how two close associates would both be investigated under the same audit program within a few years. Mr. Comey and Mr. McCabe both told The Times that they had questions about how the audits had taken place.

Mr. Trump said he had no knowledge of the audits. The tax authorities have denied that any offense has occurred.

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“Federal privacy laws exclude us from discussing specific taxpayer situations,” the IRS said in a statement released Thursday. “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. It is ridiculous and untrue to suggest that senior IRS officials somehow targeted specific individuals for revisions of the National Research Program. »

Former IRS officials and tax attorneys said that because Mr. Comey and Mr. McCabe were attacked so often by Mr. Trump – who pushed for their prosecution and accused them of treason – an inspector general or congressional committee should investigate the case.

The head of the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon, said Rettig had taken the hand to tell him that he had asked the Inspector General to investigate the matter and “to repeat that all allegations of injustice are taken seriously and referred to IG for further assessment. “

“Donald Trump has no respect for the rule of law, so if he tried to subject his political enemies to further IRS investigation, it would not surprise anyone,” Wyden said. “We have to understand what happened here because it raises serious concerns.”

Wyden added: “A thorough IG investigation of this case is crucial, and we will look at what steps the finance committee can potentially take.”

A longtime critic of Mr. Rettig, Representative Bill Pascrell Jr., a New Jersey Democrat who has previously asked Mr. Rettig to resign due to unrelated issues, reiterated this demand Thursday. Right was appointed IRS commissioner by Trump for a term ending in November.

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“The IRS under Donald Trump’s hand-picked Commissioner Charles Rettig has been one disaster after another,” said Pascrell, chair of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight. “The revision of two law enforcement leaders at Trump’s command is a gigantic scandal.”

Mr Pascrell added: “If Mr Rettig cared about this agency at all, he would deliver his resignation today. And if he does not go, Mr. Rettig should be brought before the Supreme Court. “

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