Reps. Gomez, Pascrell, Ways and Means Democrats Request Government Watchdog Investigate IRS Failure to Audit Trump’s Taxes
Washington, January 23, 2023 | Gomez Press Office (202-770-6934)
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congressman Jimmy Gomez (CA-34) and Congressman Bill Pascrell (NJ-09) led 13 Ways and Means Committee members in a letter to Gene L. Dodaro, Comptroller General of the United States, requesting the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) immediately begin investigating the failure of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to conduct mandatory audits of former President Trump’s tax returns.
In December, the House Ways and Means Committee uncovered that the presidential audit system, conducted by the IRS, was dormant under the Trump administration. The Committee found that the IRS did not conduct its first audit until the day Chairman Richard Neal sent his initial letter requesting Trump's tax returns on April 3, 2019, and the agency failed to complete any audits while Trump was in office.
Given the findings from the Committee’s investigation, the Members are asking GAO to further investigate the circumstances around the IRS’s failure to audit Trump saying, “Members of Congress need further information related to the failures to conduct presidential audits during the Trump Administration to ensure that, as elected representatives, we are adequately equipped to assess and address the integrity and continued function of the presidential audit program, as well as necessary improvements to the program.”
The letter requests the GAO to investigate why the audit was delayed and why additional resources were not requested to complete the audit and provide recommendations for how Congress can strengthen the program to deal with complicated returns and safeguard against any political interference.
“The IRS conducts mandatory yearly audits of the President's tax returns to insulate itself from political pressure and ensure public confidence that no one, not even a sitting president, is above the law,” said Noah Bookbinder, President of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). “The recent revelation that former President Donald Trump's IRS failed to initiate any audits into Trump for more than two years of his presidency and failed to conduct all but one of its required yearly audits while he served raises significant concerns, including that Trump's allies in the agency may have attempted to shield him from scrutiny and accountability. The GAO needs to conduct a thorough investigation to determine precisely why the IRS failed to follow its legal obligations, and the extent to which external political pressure contributed to this failure.”
Congressman Gomez is an original co-sponsor of The Presidential Tax Filings and Audit Transparency Act of 2022, which will require the IRS to conduct an annual audit of any future president’s finances and ensure our tax laws are applied evenly and justly to all.
The signatories to this letter include Reps. Jimmy Gomez (CA-34), Bill Pascrell (NJ-09), Brendan Boyle (PA-02), Lloyd Doggett (TX-37), Dwight Evans (PA-03), Linda Sánchez (CA-38), Danny Davis (IL-07), Stacey Plaskett (VI-01), Brian Higgins (NY-26), John Larson (CT-01), Judy Chu (CA-28), Don Beyer (VA-08), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Terri Sewell (AL-07), and Mike Thompson (CA-04).
The text of the letter can be found here and below.
The Honorable Gene L. Dodaro
Comptroller General of the United States
U.S. Government Accountability Office
441 G Street, NW
Washington, DC 20548
Dear Comptroller General Dodaro:
We write to request that your office immediately conduct an audit into the circumstances surrounding the failure of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) during the Trump Administration to adequately conduct mandatory audits of then-President Donald Trump’s tax returns in accordance with its own regulations.
On December 20, 2022, the House Ways and Means Committee issued a report finding that the IRS only began one mandatory audit of the former President during his time in office and did not complete any audit of the former President before he left office. Disturbingly, the Committee further found that the IRS only began that audit on the same day when the initial letter from the Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee was sent to the IRS, apparently indicating that the request for President Trump’s returns and information surrounding Presidential audits is what prompted IRS leadership and staff to belatedly begin the process to meet their mandatory obligations.
In light of the findings released by the Ways and Means Committee, the House of Representatives passed the Presidential Tax Filings and Audit Transparency Act, introduced by Chairman Richard Neal and Ways and Means Committee Democrats, to bring much-needed transparency and regularity to the mandatory audits of Presidents. The bill would require IRS to conduct an audit of the President’s tax returns, provide public updates on the status of the audits, and publicly disclose the President’s tax returns. However, given the urgency and gravity of the matter, we are requesting an audit to understand what additional resources and changes are necessary to ensure mandatory Presidential audits occur seamlessly.
Members of Congress need further information related to the failures to conduct presidential audits during the Trump Administration to ensure that, as elected representatives, we are adequately equipped to assess and address the integrity and continued function of the presidential audit program, as well as necessary improvements to the program.
Therefore, to the extent possible under Section 6103 of the Internal Revenue Code, we request that you fully examine the Internal Revenue Service’s past and present process for initiating and completing mandatory audits of the President and Vice President and issue a report that includes answers to the following questions:
Thank you for your time and consideration of this urgent matter.