The I.R.S. mentioned on Thursday that it had requested the inspector basic who oversees tax issues to examine how James B. Comey, the previous F.B.I. director, and his deputy, Andrew G. McCabe — each perceived enemies of former President Donald J. Trump — got here to be confronted with uncommon, exhaustive audits that the company says are supposed to be random.
“The I.R.S. has referred the matter to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration for review,” the company mentioned in a written assertion, including that its commissioner, Charles P. Rettig had “personally reached out” to the inspector basic after studying concerning the audits.
The disclosure from the I.R.S. got here a day after The New York Times reported that Mr. Comey and Mr. McCabe had been the topics of audits that focus on simply a number of thousand Americans a 12 months and are extremely invasive.
In 2017, the tax 12 months Mr. Comey was audited for, the I.R.S. says it randomly chosen about 5,000 returns for the audit out of the 153 million individuals who filed them. For 2019, the 12 months Mr. McCabe was audited for, the company says its picked about 8,000 returns of the roughly 154 million that had been filed.
It isn’t clear how two shut associates each got here to be scrutinized underneath the identical audit program in a matter of just a few years. Mr. Comey and Mr. McCabe each informed The Times that that they had questions on how the audits had come about.
Mr. Trump mentioned he had no data of the audits. The I.R.S. has denied that any wrongdoing occurred.
“Federal privacy laws preclude us from discussing specific taxpayer situations,” the I.R.S. mentioned in a press release launched Thursday. “Audits are handled by career civil servants, and the I.R.S. has strong safeguards in place to protect the exam process — and against politically motivated audits. It’s ludicrous and untrue to suggest that senior I.R.S. officials somehow targeted specific individuals for National Research Program audits.”
Former I.R.S. officers and tax legal professionals mentioned that as a result of Mr. Comey and Mr. McCabe had been attacked so ceaselessly by Mr. Trump — who pushed for his or her prosecutions and accused them of treason — an inspector basic or congressional committee ought to examine the matter.
The chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, mentioned that Mr. Rettig had reached out to inform him that he had requested the inspector basic to examine the matter and “to reiterate that any allegations of wrongdoing are taken seriously and are referred to the I.G. for further review.”
“Donald Trump has no respect for the rule of law, so if he tried to subject his political enemies to additional I.R.S. scrutiny, that would surprise no one,” Mr. Wyden mentioned. “We need to understand what happened here because it raises serious concerns.”
Mr. Wyden added: “A thorough I.G. investigation of this matter is crucial, and we’re going to look at what steps the Finance Committee could potentially take.”
A longtime critic of Mr. Rettig, Representative Bill Pascrell Jr., Democrat of New Jersey, who has beforehand referred to as on Mr. Rettig to resign over unrelated points, reiterated that demand on Thursday. Mr. Rettig was named I.R.S. commissioner by Mr. Trump for a time period that ends in November.
“The I.R.S. under Donald Trump’s handpicked commissioner Charles Rettig has been one catastrophe after another,” mentioned Mr. Pascrell, who’s the chairman of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight. “The auditing of two law enforcement leaders at Trump’s behest is a titanic scandal.”
Mr. Pascrell added: “If Mr. Rettig cared at all about this agency, he would hand in his resignation today. And if he doesn’t go, Mr. Rettig should be impeached.”