Pascrell Asks Attorney General to Investigate Trump IRS Corruption Scandal
Latest reports again document Trump sought to weaponize tax agency against foes
Washington, DC, November 15, 2022
U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09), the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight, today asked the Department of Justice to open an official criminal probe into allegations made by Donald Trump’s own Chief of Staff that he sought to weaponize the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) against his political enemies.
“Corrupting the integrity of our tax agency is a gravely serious offense. Nobody is above the law. The recent evidence that Mr. Trump specifically sought to use the tax laws for his own gain and direct the administration and enforcement of such laws to punish his enemies demands a thorough criminal investigation. The American people need to know that IRS is not subject to political influence and is focused on administering our tax system with competence and honesty. This cannot happen without a full investigation of criminal corruption at the IRS by Mr. Trump. Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter,” Chairman Pascrell wrote Attorney General Merrick Garland.
Yesterday, November 14, 2022, Pascrell and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA-01) called on the U.S. Treasury Department Inspector General to expand its probe of Trump’s IRS corruption.
On May 13, 2022, Pascrell became the first member of Congress to demand Rettig’s dismissal. He reiterated those calls on July 7 after the audits of FBI Director James Comey and Deputy Director McCabe were brought to light saying: “If you think the audit of Donald Trump’s purported enemies was a random act of God then I have a bridge in North Jersey I’d like to sell you.” On July 8, 2022, Pascrell wrote to President Biden urging him to immediately fire Charles Rettig in the wake of revelations that Comey and McCabe were targeted for audits.
As Chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight, Pascrell has been focused on fixing the IRS. On October 26, 2021, Pascrell demanded answers from Commissioner Rettig on systemic mail delays impacting IRS operations, tax filings, and refunds. Pascrell raised alarms on the slow start to the 2021 tax-filing season, and with Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA-01) castigated the IRS’s continually sending out erroneous notices to taxpayers.
The text of Chairman Pascrell’s letter is below.
November 15, 2022
The Honorable Merrick Garland
United States Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20530
Dear Attorney General Garland:
Public confidence and trust in the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) are vital to voluntary compliance and our nation. The American people must have faith our tax system is administered lawfully and fairly. We now have yet more evidence that Donald Trump sought to weaponize the IRS to target his perceived political enemies. This is a major scandal. These revelations must be fully investigated by the Department of Justice, with any criminal behavior held to full account.
On November 13, 2022, the New York Times reported that Mr. Trump repeatedly urged his chief of staff, John Kelly, to have the IRS investigate his enemies, including James B. Comey and Andrew G. McCabe. This follows reporting on July 6, 2022, that the federal income tax returns for Mr. Comey and Mr. McCabe were selected for review as part of the IRS National Research Program (NRP) in 2017 and 2019.
Given the comprehensive, cumbersome, and costly nature of NRP audits, only a small number of taxpayers are selected for review each year to assist the IRS in compiling representative data about voluntary compliance. The NRP selected roughly 5,000 returns out of 153 million filed in 2017 and roughly 8,000 returns out of 154 million filed in 2019, making the odds of these two tax returns both being selected for review miniscule.
As leaders of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Mr. Comey and Mr. McCabe were frequent targets of politically motivated vitriol by Mr. Trump, and were falsely accused by Mr. Trump of treason, perjury, and fraud. The astronomically unlikely NRP audits of both men by the IRS under Charles Rettig, an appointee of Mr. Trump, reeks of corruption and criminality.
When these audits first became public knowledge, I urged President Biden to remove Mr. Rettig so we could begin the crucial work of fixing the IRS and investigating any wrongdoing. At the time, the IRS referred the matter to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) for investigation. Yesterday, I joined Chairman Richard Neal in requesting consideration of the allegations set forth in the New York Times and an update from TIGTA on their findings.
Corrupting the integrity of our tax agency is a gravely serious offense. Nobody is above the law. The recent evidence that Mr. Trump specifically sought to use the tax laws for his own gain and direct the administration and enforcement of such laws to punish his enemies demands a thorough criminal investigation.
The American people need to know that IRS is not subject to political influence and is focused on administering our tax system with competence and honesty. This cannot happen without a full investigation of criminal corruption at the IRS by Mr. Trump. Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter.
Bill Pascrell, Jr.
Member of Congress
 The New York Times, Trump Wanted I.R.S. Investigations of Foes, Top Aide Says (November 13, 2022), https://www.nytimes.com/2022/11/13/us/politics/trump-irs-investigations.html
 The New York Times, Comey and McCabe, Who Infuriated Trump, Both Faced Intensive I.R.S. Audits (July 6, 2022), https://www.nytimes.com/2022/07/06/us/politics/comey-mccabe-irs-audits
 Bill Pascrell, Pascrell Demands Biden Fire IRS Chief Amid Massive Audit Scandal (July 8, 2022), https://pascrell.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=5158
 Committee on Ways and Means, Neal and Pascrell Seek Expanded Probe of Unprecedented Trump Use of IRS (November 14, 2022), https://waysandmeans.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/neal-and-pascrell-seek-expanded-probe-unprecedented-trump-use-irs