New York Times reporter Michael Schmidt has sources with golden fingers. On television he may come across as a wee arrogant, but who cares if he brings home the bacon. And today he brought home a freight car load of it.

A little background. The IRS has something it calls a random deep audit. And random really means random, it’s a very small sampling. The way that the IRS explains it is that every year, it draws a small, random sample of the total IRS tax returns filed for the previous year. It crosses all categories, lower class, middle class, upper middle class, rich, and uber rich. The point is to do a deep, multi year dive into their returns, and see if they’re actually paying what they should be.

And when I say that it’s a small sample, I mean a really small sample. Under the standing IRS regulations, your chances of having your return randomly chosen for a spot deep IRS audit is about 1 in 35,000. But if you’re dinged, it’s incredibly intrusive. The IRS doesn’t just compare year-to-year tax returns, they demand proof of your actual dependents, your major purchases, any stock market losses, everything.

And here’s where the milk curdles. According to Schmidt’s reporting, in 2017, there were about 5000 random deep dive audits pulled from a total of 150,000,000 returns presented. And wouldn’t you know it? Against all of those 1 in 35,000 odds, recently Trump fired former FBI Director James Comey found himself under a random deep audit.

It was a nightmare. It took 15 months to complete the deep dive audit. Comey actually had to submit photo Christmas cards to prove that he actually had eligible dependents, and it cost Comey $5000 out of pocket for a personal accountant to natter back and forth with the IRS over the details.

Two years later, lightning struck again. The IRS pulled about 8000 random returns from a pool of about 153,000,000 returned tax forms. And wouldn’t you know it? Recently Trump fired former interim FBI Director Andrew McCabe just happens to make the list.

McCabe had to through the same seven levels of hell to clear the deep dive audit. He had to provide credit card receipts for purchases that the IRS found suspicious, and verify eligible dependents. Although Schmidt didn’t say, I find it highly likely that McCabe had to hire a private accountant as well to deal with the IRS fallout.

You’re talking about 2 separate, high profile tax returns pulled out of a random pool of about 16,000 returns from a total return pool of about 300,000,000. And yet two high profile Trump enemies still found themselves subject to an intrusive deep dive audit that I personally have never heard of, and didn’t even know existed.

When contacted by Schmidt, the IRS flack maintained that the pool is strictly random, with no input or interference from the IRS Commissioner, who Trump appointed. And when Schmidt contacted the Trump cabal in Florida, they denied any knowledge of the circumstances, and proclaimed that the former President was not involved.

As Rachel Maddow likes to say, Stick a pin in this. There’s random, and then there’s random. Watch for the House committee that oversees the IRS, probably the Treasury committee, since Treasury oversees the IRS, to hold hearings on this. In a move to normalize the government again, Biden left Trump’s IRS Commissioner in place until his term expires at the end of this year. Watch for him to get invited to Capitol Hill for a skewering. You may have heard it here first, but you ain’t heard the last of this.


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  1. Your comment is awaiting moderation WTF
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  2. Well, let’s not forget the “Tea Party” explosion that caused headaches galore for the IRS when House GOPers *demanded* an explanation why “so many” Tea Party organizations were getting audited and being questioned over their non-profit 501(c)(4) applications. Despite the fact that more than 1000 “brand new” Tea Party groups sprang up over the course of just 2 calendar years, House GOPers were insistent upon finding some nefarious reason why the IRS was “harassing” these poor little groups. And, of course, they wanted to know why the IRS wasn’t “cracking down” on progressive groups in the same numbers; even though there weren’t even a quarter the number of progressive groups forming and claiming 501(c)(4) status in the same time frame that didn’t matter to House GOPers. House GOPers were determined to find that the IRS was displaying “bias” against conservative groups which essentially led the IRS to just throw in the towel and pretty much just give those Tea Party groups the non-profit tax-exempt status they wanted.


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