The IRS is now under pressure from Democrats to explain how Trump foes were selected for a rare and intensive audit after they were fired from their posts.
On Thursday (July 14) afternoon, the House Ways and Means Committee will question Trump-appointed IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig on how the seemingly retributive audits were performed by an agency not meant to be used to wield political grievances.
The session, confirmed by three House sources, follows reports that former FBI Director James Comey and his deputy — who later replaced Comey as acting director — Andrew McCabe, were audited following their dismissals.
The audits — part of the IRS’ National Research Program (NRP) — would have the men’s tax returns scrutinized line-by-line and an intensive back-and-forth with the IRS.
The implication in media reports and now on Capitol Hill is that the audits were conducted as a way to punish disloyalty to Trump.
According to The Hill, the House source revealed, “The politics here are a lot dicier than you would think,” adding that despite this being a “major story” there wasn’t “a heavy outcry yet about this really from Democrats or Republicans.”
Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), a ranking member of the Ways and Means Committee, also came to Rettig’s defense in a statement released shortly after the news broke.
“Commissioner Rettig has stated unequivocally he has had no communication with President Trump, and the research audits are statistically generated,” Brady stated.
The Texas Congressman continued, stating Rettig “referred this issue to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, and I support investigating all allegations of political targeting — consistent with the precedent set by the House Ways and Committee when investigating President Obama’s disgraced former IRS director Lois Lerner, who the committee confirmed had engaged in this abuse.”