House lawyers are trying to speak with an IRS whistleblower who claims that audits of President Donald Trump’s tax returns have been improperly influenced, according to House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.).
“It is accurate to say that there has been an individual who stepped forward and made some allegations” and that House legal counsel is “proceeding on the basis of trying to interview the individual,” Neal told reporters in Springfield, Mass., Oct. 1, according to audio posted by WAMC radio.
Neal cited the whistleblower’s complaint in a court filing in August, as part of an ongoing lawsuit to enforce a subpoena to review Trump’s tax returns. The filing didn’t provide specifics about the whistleblower’s concerns.
Spokespeople for Neal didn’t respond immediately to requests for more information. On Sept. 27 Neal told reporters that he would consult with House lawyers, who represent him in the lawsuit for Trump’s tax returns, about making that whistleblower’s complaint public in a way similar to the publishing of an intelligence community whistleblower complaint.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and a longtime whistleblower advocate, criticized Neal’s handling of the complaint.
“Talking about the existence of a complaint before taking the time to speak with the whistleblower or follow up on the whistleblower’s complaint is irresponsible,” Grassley said in a statement. “Perhaps the most important practice when it comes to taking whistleblower complaints is making sure the whistleblower has agreed to have his or her complaint made public.”
Added Grassley: “Anyone who receives a whistleblower complaint should also make some effort to evaluate the facts as alleged before going public with such a complaint. This minimizes the risks to whistleblowers and maintains the sanctity of the whistleblower process.”
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