Trump letter to stimulus check recipients criticized

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Americans who received a stimulus check from the federal government also are getting something else in the mail: a letter from President Donald Trump.

A one-page letter from Trump started arriving over the weekend in the mailboxes of millions of Americans who received stimulus payments of up to $1,200 under a new law designed to help the economy recover from the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Our great country is experiencing an unprecedented public health and economic challenge as a result of the global coronavirus pandemic,” the letter says. “Our top priority is your health and safety. As we wage total war on this invisible enemy, we are also working around the clock to protect hardworking Americans like you from the consequences of the economic shutdown.

A former taxpayer advocate at the Internal Revenue Service called the letter “unbelievable” and said it makes the agency “look like it is the handmaiden of one administration and one party.” “This will harm the IRS and its ability to appear nonpolitical and nonpartisan,” said Nina Olson,

Executive director of the Center for Taxpayer Rights. “If I were there,

I would be strongly advocating against this.”The stimulus payments are part of a $2.2 trillion economic recovery package approved by Congress and signed into law by Trump on March 27. The Treasury Department said last week that nearly 90 million people already have received payments totaling nearly $160 billion.

The law doesn’t dictate who should send the letter. Asked who decided that the letter would come from Trump, the Treasury Department referred a reporter to Trump’s remarks at a news conference on Friday.Olson said Trump’s letter is the first time she can recall the president sending a letter directly to taxpayers through the IRS.

 

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