American Oversight Sues IRS for Trump Political Appointees’ Communications About Comey and McCabe

On Thursday, American Oversight sued the Internal Revenue Service for the release of Trump political appointees’ communications regarding former FBI Director James Comey and former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

On Sunday, the New York Times reported that John Kelly — former President Trump’s longest-serving White House chief of staff — said Trump had repeatedly told him he wanted the IRS to investigate a number of his perceived political enemies, including Comey and McCabe, among others.

Kelly’s account came after revelations over the summer by the Times that both Comey and McCabe had been subjected to rare and highly invasive IRS audits in 2019 and 2021. IRS officials said the two were selected randomly for the audits, and the agency asked the Department of the Treasury’s inspector general for tax administration to investigate.

Following news of the audits, American Oversight filed a Freedom of Information Act request for any emails mentioning Comey or McCabe sent or received by any Trump political appointees at the IRS. 

“Throughout his presidency, Donald Trump sought to weaponize the federal government against his perceived enemies,” said Heather Sawyer, American Oversight’s executive director. “The latest revelations about his demand that the IRS investigate top-ranking FBI officials James Comey and Andrew McCabe fits that authoritarian pattern. The American people should know whether any of former President Trump’s alleged demands reached his appointees at the agency — and if so, how they responded.”

During his tenure in office, Trump repeatedly and publicly sought to politicize the Justice Department, from calling for the investigation of political rivals to his attempt to enlist the department in his quest to overturn the 2020 election. The lawsuit is a part of American Oversight’s ongoing effort to shed light on the Trump administration’s corruption and misconduct. More on American Oversight’s past and present Trump Accountability work is available here.