IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig has asked an inspector general to review the agency’s safeguarding of taxpayer information, following revelations that President Donald Trump has routinely paid little or no federal income tax.
Meanwile, a pair of House Republicans asked Attorney General William Barr to launch a Justice Department investigation of who may have leaked Trump's confidential tax information. Trump has charged that it was “illegally obtained” by The New York Times.
The details: The IRS said on Tuesday that it “has taken steps to reconfirm the integrity of its processes and procedures for protecting all taxpayers’ return information,” including “enhanced safeguards” for certain taxpayers, “and has found no issues.”
“Nevertheless, and in an abundance of caution, the Commissioner has requested that the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration take all appropriate steps to confirm the IRS’s finding,” the agency’s statement said.
But two top Republican tax writers called for a Justice Department investigation of the leak and a fuller IRS probe, in separate letters to Barr and Rettig on Tuesday.
"Only a small number of individuals are likely to have had 'legal access' to the information at issue. For most of the individuals with access to the information, an unauthorized disclosure would constitute a federal crime," Rep. Kevin Brady, the top Republican on the Ways and Means Committee, and oversight subcommittee ranking member Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) wrote to Barr.
The background: Trump has broken political tradition by refusing to release his tax returns, and the disclosures about them have rocked the presidential campaign. They are likely to feature prominently in his debate Tuesday night with Democratic challenger Joe Biden.
In a note accompanying the Times’ report, Executive Editor Dean Baquet wrote that Trump’s tax information “was legally obtained by reporters.”
But whoever leaked them may have committed a felony.
Former IRS Commissioner John Koskinen told POLITICO in 2017 that Trump’s returns were kept in locked cabinet in a locked room, but that the cabinet was being replaced with a safe.