Committee chair sets a deadline for Trump to turn over his tax returns.
Majority Democrats who control the House of Representatives are intensifying their pursuit of President Donald Trump’s tax returns and other financial records that might embarrass or incriminate him.
Rep. Richard Neal, chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, is leading a drive to acquire Trump’s personal and business tax returns.
Neal sent a letter Saturday to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig seeking six years of Trump’s returns. The chairman said he expected a decision within 10 days, by April 23 at 5 p.m. “Please know that, if you fail to comply, your failure will be interpreted as a denial of my request,” Neal wrote.
Trump has repeatedly refused to publicly release his tax returns or send them to Congress. He argues that he has no legal obligation to do so. Many of his predecessors released their returns voluntarily.
Trump administration spokesmen say Neal’s request will be considered but hold out little prospect that the returns will be turned over to the committee.
Such a refusal would probably result in subpoenas from the committee and a lengthy court battle that would end in the Supreme Court.
Neal, a Massachusetts Democrat, says the legal basis for his request is an obscure law from the 1920s that gives Congress the authority to obtain tax returns under the jurisdiction of the chairmen of the committees in charge of taxation. He had requested Trump’s returns last week but Trump officials asked for more time to consider it. This led to Neal setting a new deadline of April 23 for a response.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Saturday that “these are complicated legal issues” with “enormous precedence in terms of potentially weaponizing the IRS.”
Trump allies say House Democrats are looking for political ammunition to use against Trump, such as evidence he hasn’t paid enough taxes or that he has conflicts of interest.
Also, Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., chairman of the House Oversight Committee, has announced plans to subpoena 10 years’ worth of Trump’s financial data from an accounting firm connected to Trump.