"Tulsi Gabbard Venmos Nancy Pelosi $600.01 forcing the IRS to audit her finances (sic)," reads the text in an Aug. 18 Facebook post that was shared at least 75 times.
The claim first surfaced in a tweet from News That Matters on Aug. 16, the same day President Joe Biden signed a bill that increases IRS enforcement. The tweet received more than 20,000 likes and was used in several other Facebook posts, including one with more than 640 shares.
First, there is no evidence that Gabbard made a $600.01 Venmo transfer to Pelosi. The News That Matters account where it started is known for satirical content.
Second, even if Pelosi had received the payment, it would not have "forced" the IRS to audit her tax returns, a spokesperson for the agency told USA TODAY. It could potentially get Venmo to send her a tax form, however, according to the company's website.
There are no credible news reports that Gabbard sent Pelosi a Venmo payment of $600.01, as other independent fact-checking outlets have also reported.
The only source provided for the claim is a supposed "exclusive interview" between Gabbard and Genesius Times, a self-described satirical website. The Raging Patriot cited the supposed interview with Gabbard in its article about the made-up Pelosi audit.
The misinformation about the Venmo payment has been largely spread by News That Matters, a Twitter account that regularly shares fabricated stories that are humorous in nature. News That Matters has a partnership with Genesius Times.
News That Matters recently tweeted a related claim about the IRS – that Congress voted to exempt itself from the agency's audits. That made-up story was taken seriously by users on Facebook and other platforms, as USA TODAY reported.