Just like that, another anti-Trump narrative goes poof.
For years, liberals have demanded that former President Donald Trump release his tax returns after he became the first presidential candidate in modern memory not to do so.
As Trump remained steadfast in not publishing them, liberals then turned a blind eye when someone illegally leaked some of Trump’s returns to The New York Times.
Yet even as they wanted to weaponize Trump’s returns for political purposes, they accused the former president of doing the same to his enemies.
They cited IRS audits of former FBI Director James Comey and former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who were major players in pushing the Russian collusion hoax against Trump, as proof that Trump was using government resources for payback.
That was especially so since the chief of the IRS was Charles Rettig, a Trump appointee.
Yet an IRS watchdog now says that’s not true.
As The Washington Times reported on Friday, “Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) found that the IRS randomly selected Mr. Comey and Mr. McCabe for audits of their tax returns from 2017 and 2019, along with thousands of others, as part of an IRS system known as the National Research Program.”
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The Times cited an article by The New York Times from July, which was highly suggestive that the audits were political retribution.
“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,” Times reporter Michael Schmidt wrote at the time.
CNN and MSNBC also picked up on the NYT reporting as a payback operation by Trump.
Yet, per The Washington Times, the TIGTA “found no proof of wrongdoing by Mr. Trump or any Trump-appointed officials.”
The watchdog report added, “Although we did not identify misconduct during our review, TIGTA is taking additional steps to assess the process used to select the seed numbers [in the audit program],” the report said.
In fact, Rettig started the job eight months after the IRS has selected Comey’s returns for auditing.
The Washington Times continued, “The inspector general’s report found that the IRS audit selections are random, but taxpayers are divided into 88 groups to ensure that higher-income taxpayers have a greater chance of getting audited.”
For 2017, taxpayers in Comey’s group, the likeliest to get audited, had a 1 in 138 chance of being selected. In 2019, when McCabe was picked, taxpayers in the group likeliest to be audited had a 1 in 202 chance.
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The inspector general’s report added that the analysts “confirmed that the processes and computer programs worked as designed, which reduces the ability to select specific taxpayers for an NRP [National Research Program] audit.”
The Washington Times noted that an outside contractor last July to review its process “reached the same conclusion as the inspector general.”