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By 'Coincidence' IRS Slaps Trump Enemies James Comey And Andy McCabe With Rare 'Random' Audit
Wow, that IRS lightning is pretty precise.
If it walks like a duck, and it quacks like a duck, then it's probably a duck. And if it came out of the Trump administration and reeks to high heaven, it's probably corruption. So color us highly skeptical that two of Donald Trump's most hated enemies just happened to be among the 0.0033 percent of taxpayers whose returns were "randomly" selected for an incredibly invasive audit by the Internal Revenue Service at a time when it was controlled by Trump's handpicked ally Chuck Rettig .
Yesterday the New York Times reported that former FBI Director James Comey and his deputy Andy McCabe were both audited under the National Research Program, which goes all the way up the ass end of a particular tax return to determine whether Americans generally are paying their taxes. This isn't your standard audit where a particular item gets flagged, and you have to prove to an IRS agent's satisfaction that you've rendered unto Uncle Sam that which is Uncle Sam's vis-à-vis a particular line item. This is the IRS selecting you for a wildly intrusive, top-to-bottom examination, where you stand as a proxy for 20,000-30,000 of your fellow tax-filers and their willingness to voluntarily comply with our tax laws.
Here's how the IRS describes it:
To ensure the validity of NRP's reporting compliance studies, IRS examiners will verify information on the sampled returns and capture all adjustments, no matter how small or whether the adjustments favor the IRS or the taxpayers. As randomly selected returns, NRP taxpayers can represent thousands of similar taxpayers in the population. Therefore, even the smallest adjustments can have significant impacts in compliance measurements. Reporting errors can favor either taxpayers or the IRS, and for NRP to properly define misreporting, both types of errors need to be identified.
Tax lawyers describe it as “an autopsy without the benefit of death.”
Since Republicans are hot to make sure that the IRS is too starved of resources to ensure that GOP megadonors pay their fair share of taxes, our nation's bean counters don't have the wherewithal to do many of these NRP audits. Of the 153 million individual returns filed in 2017, only 5,000 were selected for a random compliance audit under the NRP. James and Patrice Comey's was among the 5,000 — which is weird enough. It strains credulity to believe that it is mere coincidence that his deputy Andy McCabe and his wife Barbra's joint return was among the 8,000 lucky winners of an NRP audit for tax year 2019.
Remember that time when Donald Trump fired James Comey and admitted to Lester Holt that he'd done it to torpedo the Russia investigation? Remember when he called for Comey to be arrested and tried for treason? Remember when he forced the Justice Department to fire Andy McCabe five minutes before his pension was going to vest? Your Wonkette remembers! And so does the Trump Twitter archive.
In fact, Donald Trump has a pretty strong track record of weaponizing the Executive Branch to suit his particular ends. Whether it's dispatching Special Counsel John Durham to try to frame Hillary Clinton for making the FBI investigate the Trump campaign's ties to Russia, or having the Treasury Department refuse to hand over his tax returns upon a lawful request from the House Ways and Means Committee, or even trying to get the Justice Department to announce a non-existent investigation of electoral fraud in the swing states as a pretext for Republican legislatures to claw back Joe Biden's electoral votes, President Crime Boss was all over it. So let's just say that it beggars belief that Comey and McCabe could both have wound up on the pointy end of this particular stick by accident.
Or, as the Times put it, "The minuscule chances of the two highest-ranking F.B.I. officials — who made some of the most politically consequential law enforcement decisions in a generation — being randomly subjected to a detailed scrub of their tax returns a few years after leaving their posts presents extraordinary questions."
Translation: OH, COME THE FUCK ON.
Which appears to be Comey's conclusion, too, after reporters told him that both he and McCabe had gotten reverse golden tickets.
“I don’t know whether anything improper happened, but after learning how unusual this audit was and how badly Trump wanted to hurt me during that time, it made sense to try to figure it out,” he said, explaining his decision to give the paper permission to FOIA the government about his case.
“Maybe it’s a coincidence or maybe somebody misused the I.R.S. to get at a political enemy. Given the role Trump wants to continue to play in our country, we should know the answer to that question," he added.
For its part, the tax agency says Rettig, whom Biden has left in his post through November of this year, had nothing whatsoever to do with the Comey and McCabe audits, which also involved their spouses, as they filed joint returns.
“Commissioner Rettig is not involved in individual audits or taxpayer cases; those are handled by career civil servants,” the agency told the Times. “As I.R.S. commissioner, he has never been in contact with the White House — in either administration — on I.R.S. enforcement or individual taxpayer matters. He has been committed to running the I.R.S. in an impartial, unbiased manner from top to bottom.”
Which is not exactly a denial that someone on the inside stacked the deck against Trump's favorite Deep State nemeses.
The Times reports that both audits have now been resolved. The McCabes paid a small amount to settle a minor discrepancy, and, after paying an accountant $5,000 and wasting 50 hours of an IRS agent's time, the Comeys got a refund of $347 after understating their expenditures for deductible office supplies.
Calls to LOCK HER UP James Comey for the dastardly crime of overpaying his taxes incoming in 3...2...
And PS: If Democrats don't scream bloody murder about this one after Republicans spent years pretending Obama was using the IRS to beat up those poor Tea Party "charities," then we deserve what we get.
[ NYT ]
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