I am a past chair of the Section of Taxation of the Maryland State Bar Association. Tonight, May 22, the Section will be holding its annual dinner. The keynote speaker is the current I.R.S. Commissioner, Charles P. Rettig. I will be in attendance.
An article appeared in today’s Washington Post, revealing that there was a memo (perhaps simply a draft), that concluded that the Secretary of the Treasury does not have the authority to deny a request for taxpayer returns from the House Ways and Means Committee. Here’s a copy of the memo. I don’t have quick access to the relevant documents right now, but I’m am fairly certain that the obligation to enforce the tax code has been delegated to the IRS Commissioner and that this delegation order has (i) not been revoked and (ii) cannot be revoked except upon thirty days’ notice, which notice has not been made. So, Mr. Rettig would seem to be under a specific legal obligation to honor the Ways and Means Committee’s request.
Now, I try to remain civil and non-confrontational in face-to-face interactions. (My internet interactions are, um, somewhat different.) This leaves me in a bit of a quandary that I am hoping members of the RBC can help me resolve. Should I:
- Question Mr. Rettig about the issue in a semi-confrontational matter (“Isn’t it true, Mr. Commissioner that . . . .”)
- When Mr. Rettig is called to the rostrum, ostentatiously turn my back to him.
- When Mr. Rettig is called to the rostrum, ostentatiously leave the room.
- When Mr. Rettig is called to the rostrum, quietly and unobtrusively leave the room.
- Simply maintain the ordinary sort of courtesies expected in such social and professional situations (ala Nancy Pelosi in her recent meeting with Attorney General Barr), remaining in the room and politely applauding Mr. Rettig after he finishes his remarks.
- Any other suggestion?
I note that while I have never meet Mr. Rettig, I know a good number of my colleagues who have. They are unanimous in their appraisal of him that he is an intelligent, decent, and honorable man.