US tax committees to question IRS chief over audits of former FBI officials

By David Lawder

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Tax Commissioner Charles Rettig will face questions from lawmakers about how two former FBI officials vilified by former President Donald Trump were subjected to intensive tax audits, lawmakers and the Internal Revenue Service said on Monday. .

The Senate Finance Committee will hold a closed-door hearing on July 26 on the circumstances of the tax audits for former FBI Director James Comey and FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, said Senator Ron Wyden, chairman of the panel, in an emailed statement.

Comey and McCabe, both fired by the Trump administration, were frequent targets of the former president’s criticism for their role in the FBI investigation into his 2016 election campaign’s alleged connections to Russia.

The House Ways and Means Committee is expected to hold a similar hearing, also behind closed doors because the IRS is prohibited from publicly discussing the details of individual tax returns.

Last week, the IRS chief asked the U.S. Treasury Tax Administration Inspector General to investigate how both men were singled out for National Investigation Program audits, which some tax professionals call “audits from hell.” due to its intensive nature.

The IRS maintains that taxpayers are randomly selected for such audits to collect tax compliance information.

When asked about congressional hearing plans, IRS spokeswoman Jodie Reynolds said, “Commissioner Rettig always welcomes the opportunity to meet with members on tax issues and routinely points out areas of potential concern. for key leaders of congressional oversight committees.

Rettig, a former tax attorney from Beverly Hills, California, was appointed by Trump in 2018 to head the US tax agency and was hired by President Joe Biden.

Wyden said reports of Comey’s selection for an audit in 2019 and McCabe’s selection in 2021 have “raised serious concerns that former President Trump encouraged the IRS to investigate his perceived enemies.”

(Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Bill Berkrot and Sam Holmes)

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