IRS whistleblower said Treasury official might have tried to interfere with Trump audit: report

An IRS official filed a complaint alleging that he was told that at least one Treasury Department official tried to interfere with an audit of President TrumpDonald John TrumpRepublicans aim to avoid war with White House over impeachment strategy New York Times editorial board calls for Trump's impeachment Trump rips Michigan Rep. Dingell after Fox News appearance: 'Really pathetic!' MORE's or Vice President Pence's tax returns, according to The Washington Post, citing people familiar with the complaint. 

The whistleblower spoke to the Post and confirmed that he had filed the complaint to Congress's tax-writing committees and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

“I steadfastly refuse to discuss the substance or details of the complaint, but I have some legitimate concerns about reckless statements being made about whistleblowers,” he told the Post.

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The Democratic-led House Ways and Means Committee first mentioned in court documents in August that it had received credible allegations from a federal employee of potentially inappropriate attempts to influence the IRS's mandatory audit program for presidential and vice presidential tax returns.

The Post's story provides details that had not been in court documents, including that the complaint was made by a career IRS employee and that it alleges potential interference in the audit program by a political employee at the Treasury Department.

The Ways and Means Committee has filed a lawsuit in an effort to obtain six years of Trump's federal tax returns, and has said it wants these documents because it's conducting oversight and is interested in legislative proposals concerning how the IRS audits presidents. The IRS's internal policies require mandatory audits of the president and vice president's tax returns, but this policy isn't codified into law.

Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard NealRichard Edmund NealOvernight Health Care — Presented by That's Medicaid — Turf war derails push on surprise medical bills | Bill would tax e-cigarettes to pay for anti-vaping campaign | .5M ad blitz backs vulnerable Dems on drug prices Turf war derails bipartisan push on surprise medical bills Expiring tax breaks set off year-end scramble MORE (D-Mass.) told reporters last week that a decision on whether to publicly release the whistleblower complaint is "subject to what counsel advises."

Some progressive activists have called on Neal to publicly release more information about the tax-return whistleblower complaint.

The complaint has received increased attention in the media in recent days, following revelations of a separate whistleblower complaint reporting that Trump had asked the president of Ukraine to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe BidenJoe BidenNew York Times editorial board calls for Trump's impeachment Graham invites Giuliani to testify about recent Ukraine trip Booker leads other 2020 Dems in petition urging DNC to change debate qualifications MORE and his son, Hunter Biden. That incident spurred House Democrats to open an impeachment inquiry.

The Trump administration is urging a judge to dismiss the Ways and Means Committee's tax-return lawsuit, arguing that the committee can't require the federal courts to take a side in the dispute. The committee disagrees that the lawsuit should be dismissed.

A hearing is scheduled in the lawsuit on Nov. 6. The judge assigned to the case is Trevor McFadden, a federal judge in D.C. appointed by Trump.

Updated at 5:40 p.m.