Remember Richard Neal’s request to get his hands on six years of Donald Trump’s tax returns?
That story, once front page news, has been relegated to the back burner over the past two months, as the legal battle over the president’s financial disclosures unfolds.
But this week, Neal asked the Treasury department’s inspector general to look into how the department handled the request. The inquiry is now in progress. According to acting Inspector General Rich Delmar, it’s “a top priority inquiry for us”.
Steve Mnuchin refused to turn over Trump’s returns earlier this year, saying, among other things, that the request lacked of legislative purpose. That’s an excuse the administration has leaned on repeatedly in the course of obstructing a variety of congressional requests tied to oversight efforts.
Mnuchin failed to comply with written requests and a subpoena, at times relying on the advice of William Barr’s Justice department and always parroting some version of a narrative that paints the original request (made in April by Neal) as an attack on privacy that would set a purportedly dangerous precedent.
In July, Neal sued Mnuchin, along with the IRS.
“I want to be assured that Treasury, including the Internal Revenue Service, is enforcing the law in a fair and impartial manner and no one is endeavoring to intimidate or impede government officials and employees carrying out their duties”, Neal wrote to the OIG.
Why would Neal think that anyone was “endeavoring to intimidate or impede”, you ask? Well, because according to an IRS whistle-blower complaint filed over the summer, at least one senior official at Treasury was doing just that.
Specifically, officials “tried to exert influence over the mandatory audit of President Trump’s tax returns”, a person familiar with the complaint said this week, according to The New York Times, whoseaccuses political appointees in the Treasury Department of improperly involving themselves in the audit and putting pressure of some kind on senior officials in the IRS”.
This isn’t exactly a “new” story. Neal told Mnuchin about the complaint in August calling the allegation “a grave charge that appreciably heightens the committee’s concerns about the absence of appropriate safeguards as part of the mandatory audit program and whether statutory codification of such program or other remedial, legislative measures are warranted”.
Mnuchin is not directly implicated, according to sources.
Although news of the complaint’s existence garnered little media attention over the summer, it’s now being viewed in a wider context amid the impeachment inquiry, although obviously, any shenanigans at Treasury or the IRS around Trump’s tax returns are unrelated to the Ukraine scandal.
On Thursday, the Washington Post said that according to a handful of people familiar with the IRS complaint, the whistle-blower said “he was told that at least one Treasury Department political appointee attempted to improperly interfere with the annual audit of the president’s or vice president’s tax returns”.
The complaint is “circulating on Capitol Hill and [was] flagged it in a federal court filing”, the Post goes on to say, adding that Democrats are “discussing whether to make it public”.
When it rains, it pours.
2 thoughts on “Treasury Under Fire Amid IRS Whistle-Blower Complaint, IG Probe Of Trump Tax Return Request”
I think the IRS stuff will be somewhat like rumors of trum penis size, i.e., I’ve always felt he was bankrupt as he entered office and has used his office as a way to protect the “truth”. I think the trump legacy will be connected to the twin pillars of bankruptcy and money laundering and the foundation of long-term tax evasion, which up to this point seems to be shielded by closed court documents, concealment and secrecy, versus any hint of successful business management. Obviously, the trump nazi zealot groupies who support criminal activity will look the other way … and what about that group of GOP hillbillies who are supportive of racism, crime, civil war, violence, fraud, extortion, money laundering — why would any clear minded American not want to see that entire bag of kittens dumped out the back of a cargo plane flying into the shark infested waters in the Bermuda Triangle? What purpose do these foul ugly people play in our future and what idiot at this point will vote for that disgusting evil symbolism?
When the administration is this uncooperative and obstructive, it is blatantly obvious that they are hiding incriminating things.