Top House Democrat steps up demand for Trump's tax returns

Henrietta Brewer
April 14, 2019

Donald Trump's tax returns must be handed to House Democrats by 23 April, a leading committee chair said on Saturday.

On Saturday the Washington Post reported that the House ways and means chairman, Richard Neal of MA, wrote to the Internal Revenue Service commissioner, Charles Rettig, saying Neal wrote that a failure to comply with the new deadline would be "interpreted as a denial of my request".

Democrats argue that IRS code 6103 allows Neal to ask for anyone's personal tax information for committee use, and that such requests are made routinely and handled through the IRS instead of the treasury secretary.

Neal, D-Mass, re-upped his demand for President Donald Trump's tax returns Saturday, telling IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig in a letter he has 10 days to turn over the records.

"It is not the proper function of the IRS, Treasury, or Justice to question or second guess the motivations of the committee", he wrote, according to the Washington Post.

Mnuchin, who has consulted with the White House and Department of Justice about Trump's tax returns, said earlier this week that Neal's request raised concerns about the scope of the committee's authority, privacy protections for US taxpayers and the legislative goal of lawmakers in seeking the documents.

On Wednesday, Mnuchin said the Treasury was handling the request and that a deadline set for that date would be missed, citing possible constitutional issues raised by the Democratic request. "Those concerns lack merit".

He could not say whether the Treasury, which oversees the IRS, would complete its review of Neal's request by April 23.

Trump has said repeatedly throughout the 2016 presidential campaign and his presidency that he can't make public his tax returns because he is under audit.

"Concerns about what the Committee may do with the tax returns and return information are baseless".

The president has long maintained he will not release his returns while under audit.

Trump has told reporters Wednesday at the White House he would not release his tax returns while he is under audit.

"If you want to run for vice president or president of the United States, hey, what's wrong with providing your tax returns for the past five years?"

William Consovoy, whose firm was retained by Trump to represent him on the matter, has written the Treasury's general counsel and said the congressional request "would set a unsafe precedent" if granted and that the IRS can not legally divulge the information.

Other reports by iNewsToday