House Dems Just Put Trump’s IRS Commissioner On Notice: ‘Hand It Over’
House Democrats on Saturday sent a second letter to the IRS demanding President Trump’s tax returns, this time warning of serious consequences after the agency missed his original deadline to provide the documents.
In the new letter, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) said that he expects a response from the IRS by 5 p.m. on April 23.
“Please know that, if you fail to comply, your failure will be interpreted as a denial of my request,” Neal wrote in a letter to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig.
Neal had sent a letter earlier this month to Rettig requesting that the IRS provide six years worth of Trump’s personal and business tax returns by April 10.
The Democratic chairman said that his committee is interested in the returns because it is considering legislative proposals and oversight relating to tax laws, including the extent to which the IRS enforces tax laws against a sitting president.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin responded to the letter, saying that the department was unable to finish its review of the request by April 10. He said that Treasury would be consulting with the Justice Department on the matter and that he would be supervising Treasury’s handling of the request.
The move terrified Trump who has made it clear that he won’t release his tax returns because he’s “under audit.”
Trump and his allies disapprove of the request, arguing that Neal’s wants the returns because he really wants to score political points against Trump.
In his new letter, Neal rejects concerns raised by Republicans and said that “judicial precedent commands that none of the concerns raised can legitimately be used to deny the Committee’s request.”
Neal said that the section of the tax code that he made the request under is “unambiguous and raises no complicated legal issues that warrant supervision or review” by Treasury or DOJ. The tax-code provision states that the Treasury Secretary “shall furnish” tax returns upon request of the chairmen of Congress’s tax committees, so long as a committee reviews them in closed session.
Additionally, Neal argued that concerns about what the Ways and Means Committee may do with Trump’s tax returns if they obtain them are “baseless.”
“The IRS, Treasury, and Justice must assume that the Committee Members, like all government officials, will act properly in the conduct of their official duties,” Neal wrote.