November 12, 2018

It’s Official, Finally: Charles Rettig Is the New Commissioner of the IRS

I’m sure the majority of you guys either probably don’t care or have already heard by now, but the Senate finally got around to confirming Charles Rettig as the new IRS commissioner on Sept. 12.

The poor guy had been left hanging in the wind since July 19, when the Senate Finance Committee voted 14-13 to send Rettig’s nomination to the Senate floor. So, all it took was for a major hurricane to possibly threaten Washington, DC, for a freakin’ vote to be cast?

Rettig is a tax attorney for the Beverly Hills, Calif.-based law firm Hochman, Salkin, Rettig, Toscher & Perez, and has represented thousands of individuals and companies in civil and criminal tax matters before the IRS and against the tax agency in court.

The vote was 64-33 in Rettig’s favor, according to the Associated Press. Even though they consider him qualified for the job, Democrats continued to protest Rettig becoming the new IRS chief because they hate the new rules issued by the Trump administration in July that limit some tax-exempt groups’ disclosure of donor information to the IRS.

Democrats are worried that the new rules will make it easier for foreign governments to influence U.S. politics through “dark money” donations.

Before the vote, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, complained:

“So over the next two months, while political ads flood the airwaves, millions of Americans are going to wonder how much of this stuff is paid for by lawbreaking foreigners and special interests,” Wyden said. “Because of the new rule, the IRS and law enforcers are going to be in the dark, too. … This is as corrupt as anything I know of before the United States Senate.”

But Rettig had nothing to do with that, and as long as the Senate is controlled by Republicans, Democrats’ complaints will fall on deaf ears.

Fifteen Democrats even voted with Republicans to approve Rettig’s confirmation.

As the new head of the IRS, Rettig will have the unenviable task of overseeing and enforcing the new tax law that President Trump signed late last year. He also will preside over the first tax-filing season under the new tax code and try to modernize the IRS’s awful technology.

During his confirmation hearing before the Senate Finance Committee on June 28, Rettig said his overarching goal would be to “strengthen and rebuild the trust between the IRS, the American people, and their representatives in Congress.”

Rettig, who was nominated by Trump in late January to lead the IRS, replaces John Koskinen as commissioner. He will serve the remainder of a five-year term that ends in November 2022.

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