House Dems Subpoena Trump's Tax Returns

Erika Holt
May 11, 2019

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., is pointing to a provision in the US tax code as his authority for requesting the president's personal and business tax records.

Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, Democrat of MA, issued the subpoenas days after Mnuchin refused to comply with demands to turn over Trump's returns.

Targeted: "Trump's tax returns are now subject of a subpoena in another escalation of House Democrats" war for presidential documents. The report says - quote - "Year after year, Mr. Trump appears to have lost more money than almost any other individual American taxpayer".

"This request from House Democrats to weaponise the tax code for purely political reasons is illegitimate and should be treated as such", Rep Kevin Brady, the top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee, said.

The House Ways and Means Committee on Friday sent a subpoena to the International Revenue Service and Treasury Department for copies of President Donald Trump's tax returns. Trump repeatedly has claimed that his tax returns are complicated, and he has maintained that he will not release them while they are under audit by the IRS. Legal experts have said Mnuchin's refusal to turn over the returns is unprecedented, noting a 1924 law explicitly gives lawmakers the authority to seek the records. He maintains that the committee is looking into the effectiveness of IRS mandatory audits of tax returns of all sitting presidents, a way to justify his claim that the panel has a potential legislative objective.

Trump administration officials and Republicans in Congress have condemned Democratic efforts to obtain Trump's tax returns, saying it could "weaponize" the IRS and confidential taxpayer information for political purposes.

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"While I do not take this step lightly, I believe this action gives us the best opportunity to succeed and obtain the requested material", Neal said.

'I am informing you now that the Department may not lawfully fulfill the Committee's request, ' he wrote to Neal.

Unlike other requests for information coming from House Democrats, Mr Neal is relying on a decades-old tax statute - 6103 - that says that the House Ways and Means chairman, Senate Finance Committee chairman or chief of staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation can request any individual's tax information in the course of their legislative business.

Mnuchin's move, which had been expected, is likely to set a legal battle into motion.

Mnuchin contended at the time that the request was politically motivated.

'And while I'm under audit, I won't do it.

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