House committee chair extends deadline for Trump's tax returns

Erika Holt
April 14, 2019

"Those concerns lack merit".

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

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.

Federal law gives the chairmen of House Ways and Means, Senate Finance Committee and the Joint Committee on Taxation the power to request the returns of any taxpayer, although some legal scholars believe the request needs a legitimate legislative goal, which Democrats say they have met.

Democratic lawmakers on Saturday gave the Internal Revenue Service a final deadline of April 23 to hand over President Donald Trump's tax returns, which Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the administration was diligently considering.

Asked repeatedly at a House hearing Tuesday whether any regulation prohibited a taxpayer from disclosing returns when under audit, Rettig responded "no".

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Ways and Means Chair Richard Neal sent the IRS a request for Trump tax information on April 3, citing a portion of the IRS Code giving certain committees authority to access "any return or return information".

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 USA taxpayers and the legislative goal of lawmakers in seeking the documents.

President Donald Trump arrives at the International Union of Operating Engineers International Training and Education Center on April 10, 2019, in Crosby, Texas. Mnuchin used similar language in a letter to Neal this week. "People expect the rule of law to work smoothly, but that" s not always the case".

The issue appears sure to end up in federal court. He said that he was under audit and didn't intend to turn anything over until that process had been completed.

"Please know that, if you fail to comply, your failure will be interpreted as a denial of my request", Neal's letter states. Neal also could seek the returns through a subpoena.

Trump broke with a decades-old precedent by refusing to release his returns as a presidential candidate in 2016 and continues to do so as president, saying his tax returns are under IRS audit. "The legal implications of this request could affect protections for all Americans against politically-motivated disclosures of personal tax information, regardless of which party is in power". He said Mr. Trump's tax returns in NY will have some of the same information found in the president's federal tax returns.

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