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Democrats ask IRS to check for political meddling on Trump audits

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Two top Senate Democrats have asked Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service watchdogs to investigate whether there’s been political interference in audits of President Donald Trump’s tax returns.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Ron Wyden, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, asked the inspector generals of the Treasury and IRS to determine if Trump had sought to influence the mandatory audits he undergoes as president, or any outstanding audits from before he was elected.

“Not only has Mr. Trump broken decades of precedent by rejecting transparency for the American people and refusing to publicly release his federal income tax returns, but he has also made numerous public statements against IRS audits, both as a presidential candidate and after he was elected,” the lawmakers said in a letter on Thursday.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.)

Richard Delmar, the deputy inspector general at Treasury, said he’s received the letter, but declined to comment further. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, which oversees the IRS, didn’t immediately respond to a request to comment.

The request comes after the New York Times reported Sept. 27 that the president paid minimal federal income taxes in recent years. The newspaper’s reporting, based on two decades of Trump’s tax records, showed that he aggressively used deductions to avoid paying taxes, which some lawyers have said could flout tax laws.

The House Ways and Means Committee is currently suing for six years of Trump’s personal and business tax returns. That case is unlikely to be resolved before the Nov. 3 presidential election.

Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal has said he needs the tax returns to ensure that the IRS is properly auditing the president. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said he won’t release the tax documents because Democrats want to use them to damage the president politically.

Bloomberg News
Chuck Schumer Ron Wyden Donald Trump IRS Tax audits TIGTA Tax returns Richard Neal