House Panel Sues Treasury And IRS To Obtain Trump's Tax Returns

Jul 03, 2019, 00:35
House Panel Sues Treasury And IRS To Obtain Trump's Tax Returns

House Democrats filed a lawsuit Tuesday in federal court seeking access to President Trump's tax returns, accusing the Trump administration of an "extraordinary attack" on Congress in preventing the disclosure of the president's personal financial records. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin rejected Neal's request in May, saying that it lacked a legitimate legislative objective.

"The Committee is investigating the IRS's administration of various tax laws and policies relating to Presidential tax returns and tax law compliance by President Trump, including whether the IRS's self-imposed policy of annually auditing the returns of sitting presidents is working properly, even though it has not been updated in decades", the suit states.

The move comes months after Neal made his initial request for the President's tax information and as outside groups and other liberals on the Ways and Means Committee grew impatient with the pace of Neal's efforts. The OLC accused Neal of having an improper, "political" motive in issuing the request. The committee said it's not required to explain to the Treasury Department its reasons for seeking the tax return information but that in this case the committee's need is "evident".

The IRS and Treasury Department did not immediately respond to a Fox News request for comment. Meanwhile, the Treasury Department has argued it is not a legitimate legislative goal.

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"There can be no doubt as to the power of Congress, by itself or through its committees, to investigate matters", federal Judge Edgardo Ramos said at a court hearing in May. But Letter, he said, suggested it could drag out into next year, going all the way to the Supreme Court.

Mnuchin put off the request for a month and in May rejected it, asserting that Neal's stated legislative goal was just a pretext for a political attack. "Courts may be hesitant to accept such a broad construction of the House's investigatory power".

Neal narrowly tailored the rationale for the initial April request, asserting that the tax returns were needed to conduct oversight of whether the IRS is impartially auditing Trump's tax returns.

However, the top Republican on the committee and its former chairman, Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, said he would introduce a House resolution to oppose the lawsuit saying it "weaponizes the tax code and puts every taxpayer at risk".

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The lawsuit also claims that the committee urgently needs the president's tax return information because of the consideration of tax legislation that "would govern the next Presidential election", including bills that would require candidates in 2020 to disclose their tax returns.

Rep. John Larson is a senior member of the Ways and Means Committee. "This is a risky course of action".

"We are here today because Donald Trump and his enablers have sneered at our laws and avoided the thinnest accountability for their corruption", Pascrell said in a statement.

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