A career IRS official has filed a whistleblower complaint over inappropriate interference by at least one Treasury Department official in a mandatory annual audit of the president and vice president’s taxes.
The House Ways and Means Committee was alerted to “possible misconduct” at the end of July, but The Washington Post shed more light on the situation Thursday when it reported that the individual was an IRS employee and revealed that the allegation pertained to Treasury Department officials.
The whistleblower told the paper in an interview that he had filed a formal complaint, but would not comment on its substance.
The White House has continued to push back on Democratic efforts to get the Treasury Department to release the president’s tax returns. Administration officials have dismissed Democrats’ calls for Trump’s tax returns as outside the scope of congressional oversight authority.
Democrats fear the recent complaint suggests the independent IRS audit process has been compromised by partisan actors. But the whistleblower denied his actions were politically motivated.
“I take very seriously the duty of career civil servants to act with integrity and perform our duties impartially, even at the risk that someone will make a charge of bias,” he said.
The whistleblower also told the paper he feared the recent comments being made by President Trump and allies about whistleblowers. Trump told reporters Monday he was “trying to find out” the identity of the Ukraine whistleblower.
“The focus should be on the facts that were presented,” the IRS whistleblower told The Washington Post. “I am concerned also by the relative silence of people who should be repudiating these dangerous attacks in the strongest terms.”
Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal (D., Mass.) told reporters Sept. 27 he was weighing the release of the complaint with lawyers.