“It appears highly likely that the issues associated with the disbursement of these checks are a serious misuse of taxpayer funds, inappropriate communication by a government agency, and an act of illegal electioneering by Trump administration officials.”
“According to numerous news reports, paper checks may be delayed because President Trump asked that his name appear on the checks.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Government watchdog group Accountable.US today sent a letter to the inspector general of the Internal Revenue Service calling for an investigation into recent actions taken by President Trump suggesting he is using taxpayer dollars for his political gain and delaying the issuance of $1,200 checks that many Americans are relying on for desperately-needed financial relief in light of the COVID-19 crisis.
The letter from Kyle Herrig, president of Accountable.US, brings attention to ethically questionable decisions made by the President and his administration amid multiple news reports that these actions may be contributing to the delay in issuing these checks.
Trump asked to have his name on the checks, which may have contributed to delays.
Several news outlets have reported that President Trump asked to have his name appear on the checks. According to the Washington Post, because “the president is not an authorized signer for legal disbursements by the U.S. Treasury… the checks will instead bear Trump’s name in the memo line, below a line that reads, ‘Economic Impact Payment.’” Senior IRS officials told the Post that this decision would delay delivery of the checks.
These actions have led to the belief that the president wants his name attached to good news heading into the election season and is trying to divert attention away from his mismanagement of the COVID-19 response, which could be reasonably viewed as electioneering.
Trump has a history of engaging in electioneering during the COVID-19 crisis.
President Trump has a history of using taxpayer money to bolster his political prospects and attack opponents. These actions include wearing a hat featuring his campaign slogan during a visit to the CDC, turning daily COVID-19 briefings into a type of “campaign rally,” and having the CDC mail a postcard to every residential address in the U.S. featuring and emphasizing Trump branding over actual public health guidance.
Trump’s actions raise troubling questions on how checks will be issued.
As the letter states, the president’s actions “raise many questions that warrant investigation: How were recipients of these checks be prioritized? Which states will receive them first? Who was involved in the decision to feature Trump on the checks? What was the cost of this decision in dollars spent and days lost? Who from the Treasury Department, Internal Revenue Service, or White House was involved in any aspect of this endeavor?”