Having spent the last fifteen years working with budgets, accounting, and how money is spent and tracked, I can tell you that nothing makes the blood run cold more than hearing the words, “the auditor is here.” It has nothing to do with the people who are doing the audit or a sense of guilt for having tried to pull off something shady. It’s more to do with the fact that if there is a record missing or a number that is off, they will find it and patiently ask you to find it, rectify it, or prove why it shouldn’t be brought to the attention of the authorities, be they your boss or the people who issue subpoenas.
In short, don’t mess with them. They have a job to do, they do it well, numbers and math don’t lie, and if they have a sense of humor — and many of them do, along with pleasant personalities — they are all business when it comes to doing their job. And the best of them work for the IRS.
So this should be interesting.
Special counsel Bob Mueller has teamed up with the IRS. According to sources familiar with his investigation into alleged Russian election interference, his probe has enlisted the help of agents from the IRS’ Criminal Investigations unit.
This unit—known as CI—is one of the federal government’s most tight-knit, specialized, and secretive investigative entities. Its 2,500 agents focus exclusively on financial crime, including tax evasion and money laundering. A former colleague of Mueller’s said he always liked working with IRS’ special agents, especially when he was a U.S. Attorney.
And it goes without saying that the IRS has access to Trump’s tax returns—documents that the president has long resisted releasing to the public.
Potential financial crimes are a central part of Mueller’s probe. One of his top deputies, Andy Weissmann, formerly helmed the Justice Department’s Enron probe and has extensive experience working with investigative agents from the IRS.
“From the agents, I know everyone has the utmost respect for both Mueller and Weissmann,” said Martin Sheil, a retired IRS Criminal Investigations agent.
And he said Mueller and Weissmann are known admirers of those agents’ work.
“They view them with the highest regard,” Sheil said. “IRS special agents are the very best in the business of conducting financial investigations. They will quickly tell you that it took an accountant to nab Al Capone, and it’s true.”
It’s been widely reported that the special counsel’s team is trying to “flip” Paul Manafort, the president’s former campaign CEO, in hopes he will provide evidence against his former colleagues. Former federal prosecutors tell The Daily Beast one of Manafort’s biggest legal liabilities could be to what’s called a “check the box” prosecution. Federal law requires that people who have money in foreign bank accounts check a box on their tax returns disclosing that. And there’s speculation that Manafort may have neglected to check that box, which would be a felony. This is exactly the kind of allegation the IRS would look into.
Like they said, that’s how the Feds nailed Al Capone.