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House Democrats revealed this week that a federal employee has come to them with information about “possible misconduct” relating to an Internal Revenue Service audit of President Donald Trump.
First, the whistleblower could boost their legal case. Democrats want to see the president’s tax returns partly because they don’t trust him not to improperly influence his audit. The IRS has said such concerns are “unfounded,” but if Democrats have evidence of possible interference, those concerns would be pretty well-founded.
Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee sued the Trump administration in July for defying a federal disclosure law that is supposed to give certain congressional committee chairs access to anyone’s private tax information. The Treasury Department has refused to turn over the president’s tax returns in response to first a formal request and then a subpoena from the Ways and Means panel.
The committee’s lawyers revealed their whistleblower material this week in a motion that asked U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden to hurry up and order the administration to obey the law. The case, which is currently in the District of Columbia’s federal trial court, could run longer than a year due to appeals.
Another reason the whistleblower is a big deal is that he or she might be able to give the committee information on Trump’s tax returns. The law empowers IRS whistleblowers to divulge material to Congress.
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