House Democrats ask IRS to provide Trump's tax returns

Richard Neal

The Democratic chairman of the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee asked the Internal Revenue Service for six years of President Donald Trump's personal and business tax returns on Wednesday, in a long-awaited move that is widely expected to lead to a lengthy court battle with the Trump administration.

And on Wednesday afternoon, the House Ways and Means Committee formally kicked off its pursuit of the president's tax returns, capping what has been the most aggressive week of this Congress' oversight of the administration to date.

Representative Pramila Jayapal, a Democrat from Washington and a leader of the House Progressive Caucus, said she believes the tax returns would shed light on whether "some of his actions and public policy, like around Russian Federation, for example, could be explained by those conflicts of interest".

In February 2015, while Trump was mulling what was then considered a long shot bid for the White House, he told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt he would follow the long-standing tradition of presidents and presidential candidates and release his tax returns - if he threw his hat into the presidential ring.

Trump quickly said he was not inclined to share his tax returns.

It is significant therefore that Neal's request was made to the IRS and not the Treasury. "To maintain trust in our democracy, the American people must be assured that their government is operating properly, as laws intend", Neal said in a statement. "But I think he has, at least if you take the President at his word, a legitimate reason for not turning them over, he says he's in the middle of an audit", he said.

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The legislation must now be approved by the House of Lords, a near certainty, in the next few days. May had not shifted her position as much as he would have hoped, Corbyn added.

While speaking to the media Wednesday, the president said he will not comply with the request as those audits are still taking place.

This is a very aggressive goal-oriented group of progressive lawmakers, and they had promised to get a copy of Trump's tax returns.

Okay, cool story - and one we've heard many times before. Now he may have no choice but to give them up. Instead, the president (almost surely) lies and says he is perpetually under audit and therefore can not release his tax returns (being under audit does not preclude you from doing this). Now this week, Democrats have taken a momentous step toward obtaining Trump's personal and business tax returns, which they believe could turbocharge several House investigations into his past.

"This is the latest effort from House Democrats in their misguided rush to impeach President Trump that began the day after the 2016 election", Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), the ranking member of the House Ways and Means Committee, said in a statement. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Thursday morning that the White House "is not interested in playing a bunch of political games like the Democrats in Congress clearly want to spend their time doing". But other, higher-level officials said the move did not appear to be a mistake, even though they were not informed ahead of time. The request includes returns for eight corporate entities.

He has constantly refused requests to do so, claiming the returns are under "audit".

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