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 WydenHillicon Valley — Presented by AT&T — New momentum for privacy legislation | YouTube purges spam videos | Apple plans B Austin campus | Iranian hackers targeted Treasury officials | FEC to let lawmakers use campaign funds for cyber FEC votes to allow lawmakers to use campaign funds for personal cybersecurity Senate votes to overturn IRS guidance limiting donor disclosure MORE (D-Ore.) on Wednesday urged the IRS to investigate the findings of a lengthy New York Times article that President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden, Sanders lead field in Iowa poll The Memo: Cohen fans flames around Trump Memo Comey used to brief Trump on dossier released: report 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."