Democrats give Trump 10 days to hand over tax returns

Clay Curtis
April 14, 2019

Trump declined to provide his tax information as a candidate in 2016 and as president, something party nominees have traditionally done in the name of the transparency.

"My guess is that majority don't do their own taxes and I certainly don't trust them to look through the decades of success that the president has and determine anything", Sanders said, adding that the president has filled out hundreds of pages in financial disclosure forms.

Neal, a Massachusetts Democrat, is the only House lawmaker authorized to request taxpayer data from the Treasury, which oversees the IRS.

Neal argues that the language in the law unambiguously mandates the IRS to provide the tax returns to the committee upon request, that the IRS can not legally question the committee's objective, and that "concerns about what the committee may do with the tax returns and return information are baseless".

Neal also wrote that concerns about the committee's access to the returns were "baseless".

In a new two-page letter sent to the IRS Commissioner Charles Retting Saturday morning from House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.), Neal insists upon obtaining the president's tax returns and a decision from the IRS within the next 10 days. That official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal discussions, said when administration officials suggested it to Department of Homeland Security officials and others, those officials said it was a "no-go".

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By comparison, in the last budget year of the Obama administration, there were 94,751 people arrested with convictions, 6,267 arrests of those with pending charges and 9,086 on immigration violations. And after the November midterm elections, Trump claimed at a news conference that the filings were too complex for people to understand.

During his tenure at the Justice Department, Trump's former attorney general Jeff Sessions went after sanctuary cities, threatening to cut off their federal funding. Mnuchin so far has only postponed responding to Democrats' request and said he would confer with the Justice Department, but he has not yet rejected it. "Please know that if you fail to comply, your failure will be interpreted as a denial of my request", Neal said in the letter. Mnuchin expressed a concern over releasing the returns because of the precedent it would set and the potential for this to be used for political attacks.

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, didn't address Trump's proposal directly when asked for comment about it Friday.

On Saturday, Neal said the administration has no right "to question or second guess" his motivations.

The standoff between Congress and the administration over the request is expected to launch an unprecedented legal battle, one that will test for the first time in court a 1920s-era tax statute that was little known until recently.

Democrats want Trump's tax returns as part of their investigations of possible conflicts of interest posed by his continued ownership of extensive business interests, even as he serves the public as president.

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