Oh NOW You Want To Hear About The Treasury Whistleblower? Well OK!
Donald Trump's full employment plan for compliance watchdogs is going swimmingly with a third Inspector General ready to take the stage. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration J. Russell George -- Donald Trump is going to make you a STAR! Or perhaps he'll humiliate you by firing you on Twitter, and then whip up his howler monkeys to orchestrate a rightwing media smear campaign against you. Could go either way!
Back in August, we learned from one of the 4,917 Trump tax return cases about a pending whistleblower complaint at the Treasury Department involving either the president or the VP's tax returns. House Ways and Means Chair Richard Neal referred to it in litigation to enforce his demand for Trump's returns:
On July 29, 2019, the Committee received an unsolicited communication from a Federal employee setting forth credible allegations of "evidence of possible misconduct" — specifically potential "inappropriate efforts to influence the mandatory audit program." This is 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 is such a program or other remedial, legislative measures are warranted.
In point of fact, the chairman is unambiguously entitled to see any return he asks for under the law without supplying a reason. But the fact that someone in Steven Mnuchin's shop appears to be interfering with the mandatory audit of Trump or Pence's taxes supplies legislative justification -- if one were needed, which it is not -- for Neal's demand.
Now The Washington Post has interviewed the whistleblower personally and has some more details for us. Apparently "the whistleblower is a career IRS official" who filed a complaint on July 29 which "pertained to allegations of interference in the audit process by at least one Treasury Department official." HEY MUNCH, YOU BEEN MESSIN' ROUND WITH TRUMP'S RETURN?
Trump administration officials, who insist on anonymity natch, have pooh-poohed the complaint as mere "hearsay." They will undoubtedly be shouting "You can't get a parking ticket based on hearsay!" long after the president has waddled out to the White House lawn to confess to it on national television. Then he'll tweet that he has the ABSOLUTE RIGHT to interfere with his own return to make sure that DEEP STATE OPERATIVES don't do audit murders to him, and Republicans will fall obediently in line to say it doesn't count if the whistleblower is a Democrat. Third verse same as the first.
The Post reports that Richard Neal and Senate Finance Chair Chuck Grassley both got the complaint when it was filed back in July. There's no word out yet on whether the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) found the complaint credible or acted on it further. TIGTA Russell George appears to be a career compliance official who takes his job seriously, but the disparity between his crappy reporting portal, which seems geared more toward low-level taxpayer complaints, and the portal for the Office of the Inspector General for the Treasury is ... not reassuring.
So, add it to the pile of fuckery to investigate. If not now, under a Democratic president in 2021.
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