Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) sent a letter to Donald Trump’s erstwhile accountant Mazars on Tuesday, asking them why they terminated their relationship with the former president and disavowed a decade of his tax filings.
“It is highly uncommon for a global accounting firm to directly cast doubt on the validity of its own work for a major client, not least a multi-billion dollar enterprise owned largely by an individual who went on to become the President of the United States,” Wyden wrote in a five-page letter. “As Mazars and its predecessors were the sole accountants of record for Donald J. Trump and the Trump Organization for over a decade, these revelations raise questions as to whether financial statements and tax returns it prepared contain material discrepancies, omissions or errors, including information submitted to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). These questions are all the more concerning in light of allegations that Mr. Trump previously submitted misleading documents to the IRS, as well as past violations of tax laws and ongoing tax fraud investigations involving Mr. Trump and the Trump Organization.”
In February, Mazars cut ties with the Trump Organization, citing an “non-waivable conflict of interest.” The firm also declared that the statements of financial condition that they prepared for Trump between June 30, 2011 and June 30, 2020 should “no longer be relied upon,” a conclusion that they added should be shared with those who received them.
The surprising reversal fell amid civil and criminal investigations against Trump, both looking into whether he inflated or deflated his assets for tax benefits. The development factored into a Manhattan judge’s ruling later that month forcing Trump’s deposition in a civil investigation brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James (D).
After Trump’s attorneys tried to put a positive spin on Mazars’ disavowal, the judge scoffed: “The idea that an accounting firm’s announcement that no one should rely on a decade’s worth of financial statements that it issued based on numbers submitted by an entity somehow exonerates that entity and renders an investigation into its past practices moot is reminiscent of Lewis Carroll.”
Trump’s reported testimony in another lawsuit in the Bronx gave Wyden’s committee further pause.
“Additionally, recent news that Mr. Trump stated in sworn testimony that he directly oversaw the compensation of Trump Organization executives—a compensation scheme that now sits at the center of a broader tax fraud investigation—further heightens these concerns,” Wyden’s letter states. “In particular, Mr. Trump testified that he had exclusive authority over the compensation of Matthew Calamari Sr., Trump Organization Chief Operating Officer.”
Wyden noted that Mazars identified outstanding tax issues related to “the Matt Calamari Jr. apartment” in their letter terminating the relationship with the Trump Organization.
“I am deeply concerned by the admissions made in the February 9, 2022 letter sent by Mazars to the Trump Organization,” Wyden wrote. “It is unclear whether issues with the statements of financial condition are the result of errors or omissions by Mazars personnel or inaccurate or misleading information provided by the Trump Organization and its affiliates. There is also no information available as to why these documents should no longer be relied upon.” (italics in original)
Wyden gave Mazars a series of 10 questions to answer “no later than” June 7.
Mazars did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Read the letter, below:
(Photo of Sen. Wyden by Mandel Ngan-Pool/Getty Images; photo of ex-President Trump by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)
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