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) to 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: https://gomez.house.gov/uploadedfiles/letter_to_gao_to_investigate_mandatory_presidential_audit_failures.pdf