Top Finance Dem urges IRS to investigate Trump tax allegations

Top Finance Dem urges IRS to investigate Trump tax allegations
© Greg Nash

Senate Finance Committee ranking member Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenOn The Money: Pelosi says no debt ceiling hike until deal on spending caps | McConnell pressures White House to strike budget deal | Warren bill would wipe out billions in student debt | Senate passes IRS reform bill On The Money: Pelosi says no debt ceiling hike until deal on spending caps | McConnell pressures White House to strike budget deal | Warren bill would wipe out billions in student debt | Senate passes IRS reform bill Senate passes bipartisan IRS modernization bill MORE (D-Ore.) on Wednesday urged the IRS to investigate the findings of a lengthy New York Times article that President TrumpDonald John TrumpDC board rejects Trump Hotel effort to dismiss complaint seeking removal of liquor license on basis of Trump's 'character' DC board rejects Trump Hotel effort to dismiss complaint seeking removal of liquor license on basis of Trump's 'character' Mexico's immigration chief resigns amid US pressure over migrants MORE and his family engaged in "dubious" and possibly criminal tax schemes in the 1990s.

“These media reports represent serious and credible allegations of potentially illegal tax fraud, based on extensive documentation,” Wyden wrote in a letter Wednesday to new IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig.

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The bombshell Times story, published Tuesday afternoon, reported multiple schemes that the president and his father, Fred Trump, engaged in to minimize estate and gift tax bills. These included the establishment of a "sham" company used to hide gifts of millions of dollars, as well as undervaluing properties.

Tax experts say that the statute of limitations for criminal charges has likely expired for the events described in the Times story, but that there is no statute of limitations for civil tax fraud. Experts say that it could be challenging for the IRS to prove fraud given the age of the events under question.

“It is not clear whether the statute of limitations has expired in all cases," Wyden wrote. "It is imperative that IRS fully investigate these allegations and prosecute any violations to the fullest extent of the law.”

The New York state Tax Department has also said it's reviewing the allegations in the Times article, and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) said Wednesday that the city will seek to recoup any money that the president owes.

The president has called the Times story a "hit piece," and White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders has called the story a "misleading attack."