Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Charles Rettig has asked the Treasury Department’s inspector general to investigate the tax audits of former FBI Director James Comey and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, The New York Times reports.
The Times on Wednesday reported that Comey and McCabe faced intensive IRS audits while Donald Trump was president. The tax agency said people are picked at random for the rare audit program.
“The IRS has referred the matter to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration for review. IRS Commissioner Rettig personally reached out to TIGTA after receiving a press inquiry,” the IRS said in a statement.
McCabe on Thursday told CNN he thinks “referring it to the IG is the right step, but let’s see if the IG moves on it and then makes their findings public.”
The IRS in 2017 targeted about 5,000 people for audits out of 153 million individual returns. Comey, whom Trump fired in 2017 because he said he lost confidence in his ability to manage the bureau, was notified in 2019 that his 2017 return was being reviewed. McCabe, who was dismissed by Attorney General Jeff Sessions in 2019, was also picked for a similar review involving his 2019 return.
The IRS defended its work.
“Federal Privacy laws preclude us from discussing specific taxpayer situations. Audits are handled by career civil servants, and the IRS has strong safeguards in place to protect the exam process — and against politically motivated audits,” the agency said.
“It’s ludicrous and untrue to suggest that senior IRS officials somehow targeted specific individuals for National Research Program audits,” it added.
Rettig’s term is set to expire this November. He was appointed to his post by Trump in 2018.