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John Coffee, a law professor at Columbia University who monitors the behavior of Wall Street firms, said the Mercers might win Koskinen’s ouster, but he doubts they could undermine the case.
“I don’t know they’re going to get their candidate in,” he said, “and I’m not sure many candidates are going to try to reverse the staff on something that’s already deeply advanced in either litigation or negotiation.” Dennis Ventry, an expert in tax law policy from the University of California at Davis School of Law, said he was unaware of any instance in which a president had intervened to stop a tax audit or prosecution.
In a phone interview, Fitton said “the conservative movement is united in its belief there need to be changes at the IRS,” but he voiced frustration “that the Trump administration seems to be of two minds on whether or not to replace” Koskinen before his term expires.
Fitton declined to identify other attendees, and the Trump White House has abandoned a longtime practice of publicly releasing visitor logs.
31, 2016, has shown no signs of buckling to the IRS’s demands.
Nor has there been a hint as to whether Trump, a real estate developer who has refused to make his tax returns public, will intercede.
Since the IRS found in 2010 that a complicated banking method used by Renaissance and about 10 other hedge funds was a tax-avoidance scheme, Mercer has gotten increasingly active in politics.
The Internal Revenue Service is demanding a whopping billion or more in back taxes from the world’s most profitable hedge fund, whose boss’s wealth and cyber savvy helped Donald Trump pole-vault into the White House.
Suddenly, the government’s seven-year pursuit of Renaissance Technologies LLC is blanketed in political intrigue, now that the hedge fund’s reclusive, anti-establishment co-chief executive, Robert Mercer, has morphed into a political force who might be owed a big presidential favor.
Renaissance said then that its tax calculations were “appropriate under current law” and that it had “cooperated fully” with the IRS inquiry.
Robert Martin, a lawyer in the IRS’s chief counsel’s office who co-authored the agency’s legal notices on the issue in 20, said the law covering reporting of the options profits had held up for more than 75 years.
The IRS recently released a little-noticed advisory stating that its top targets in future business audits will include so-called “basket options,” the instruments that Renaissance and some other hedge funds have used to convert short-term capital gains to long-term profits that have lower tax rates.