House committee sends new letter to IRS demanding Trump’s tax returns

by Garry Watts April 14, 2019, 0:59
House committee sends new letter to IRS demanding Trump’s tax returns

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 us taxpayers and the legislative objective of lawmakers in seeking the documents. Mnuchin so far has only postponed responding to Democrats' request and said he would confer with the Justice Department, but not yet rejected it. "If you fail to comply, your failure will be interpreted as a denial of my request".

Donald Trump's tax returns must be handed to House Democrats by 23 April, a leading committee chair said on Saturday.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal set the IRS a new deadline of April 23 to hand over President Donald Trump's tax returns before potentially resorting to other legal options.

The letter leans heavily into the committee's legal rational for the returns and Neal writes that, "I am aware that concerns have been raised regarding my request, and the authority of the committee".

"The Committee's request raises serious issues concerning the constitutional scope of Congressional investigative authority, the legitimacy of the asserted legislative goal, and the constitutional rights of American citizens", Mnuchin wrote.

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"Even if Ways and Means had a legitimate committee goal for requesting the President's tax returns and return information, that objective is not driving Chairman Neal's request", he wrote.

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

Despite the law's clarity, Democrats have long acknowledged that the request, if denied, would mean a federal court battle that could ultimately be settled by the U.S. Supreme Court. But Republicans have dismissed his request as political and unprecedented.

Mr Trump himself has claimed that he can not release his tax returns because they are under audit, although technically there is nothing preventing him from doing so. Neal also could seek the returns through a subpoena. Dubbed the "blue wall" before they unexpectedly tipped to Trump, they may have supplanted Florida and OH as the nation's premier presidential battlegrounds.

Earlier Wednesday, Trump weighed in, telling reporters that he won't agree to release his returns while he is under audit. The IRS says there's no rule against subjects of an audit from publicly releasing their tax filings. "Given the seriousness of these issues, which bear no connection to ordinary tax administration, we have begun consultations with the Department of Justice to ensure that our response is fully consistent with the law and the Constitution".

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