Treasury IG says Trump IRS audits of Comey, McCabe were done at random
A Thursday report from the Treasury Department's Inspector General for Tax Administration concluded that the IRS had randomly selected tax returns for its National Research Program audits in 2019 and 2021.
The investigation followed a report from the New York Times in July of this year, which stated that the agency had conducted intrusive audits of former FBI Director James Comey and former acting Director Andrew McCabe through the program. The IRS reviewed Comey's 2017 tax returns in 2019 and those of McCabe from 2019 in 2021. The agency was still under the purview of a Trump appointee at the time of the McCabe audit.
The IRS conducts random audits each year as a means of monitoring overall taxpayer groups and general compliance with federal guidelines, according to the Associated Press.
Both men had drawn the ire of former President Donald Trump, largely due to their criticism of the commander-in-chief amid special counsel Robert Mueller's Trump-Russia collusion probe. The Times report directly suggested that an IRS official may have improperly selected them for political purposes.
"Was it sheer coincidence that two close associates would randomly come under the scrutiny of the same audit program within two years of each other?... Or did someone in the federal government or at the I.R.S. ... corrupt the process?" the report asked.
The IRS subsequently asked the inspector general to look into the matter, prompting the report, which did not mention either individual by name, but affirmed that the agency had conducted the audits randomly.
The investigation "confirmed that the processes and computer programs worked as designed, which reduces the ability to select specific taxpayers for an NRP audit," the IG wrote.