House Budget Republican says Dems request of Trump tax returns is attempt 'to weaponize' tax code

Rep. Rob WoodallWilliam (Rob) Robert WoodallHere are the lawmakers who aren't seeking reelection in 2020 House Democrats target 2020 GOP incumbents in new ad The House Republicans and Democrats not seeking reelection in 2020 MORE (R-Ga.), a member on the House Budget Committee, on Thursday accused Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee of requesting copies of President TrumpDonald John TrumpRepublicans aim to avoid war with White House over impeachment strategy New York Times editorial board calls for Trump's impeachment Trump rips Michigan Rep. Dingell after Fox News appearance: 'Really pathetic!' MORE's tax returns as a way of “politicizing the tax system.”

“We’re politicizing the tax system,” Woodall told Hill.TV’s Krystal Ball and Buck Sexton. “Presidents have never been forced to release it, they volunteered to release those tax returns.”

“To see what the Ways and Means Committee is doing, now to use its article one power to weaponize the tax code is really disturbing,” Woodall added.

Woodall's comments come a day after Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard NealRichard Edmund NealOvernight Health Care — Presented by That's Medicaid — Turf war derails push on surprise medical bills | Bill would tax e-cigarettes to pay for anti-vaping campaign | .5M ad blitz backs vulnerable Dems on drug prices Turf war derails bipartisan push on surprise medical bills Expiring tax breaks set off year-end scramble MORE (D-Mass.) sent a letter to the IRS commissioner requesting six years of Trump’s personal and business tax returns.

“The Ways and Means Committee, in particular, has a responsibility to conduct oversight of our voluntary Federal tax system and determine how Americans — including those elected to our highest office — are complying with those laws,” Neal said in a statement.

Ways and Means is one of three congressional committees that has the power to request a president’s tax returns, thanks to a federal provision in the tax code dating back to the 1920s.

The request likely has a few more legal hurdles to clear. The documents would still need to be reviewed by a committee before being sent to Congress, which could make some or all of the tax returns public.

In response to the news, Trump again insisted that his tax filings are under IRS audit and would not be publicly disclosed.

Democrats have been trying to get Trump’s tax returns for years. Even though presidents aren’t legally required to disclose their tax returns, it has been a common practice among politicians in order to show a sense of transparency.

But Woodall hopes that the push for Trump's tax returns is just a phase.

“I hope it’s just a sign of this first quarter outrage and that we’ll quickly move past that and get into the things the Ways and Means Committee needs to be working on like trade, like tax policies, like health care,” he told Hill.TV.

— Tess Bonn