Brady warns Trump tax return precedent could extend to Supreme Court justices
House Ways and Means Committee ranking member Kevin Brady (R-Texas) warned Tuesday that Democrats’ potential decision to release former President Trump’s tax returns could set a precedent for lawmakers making public those of Supreme Court justices.
Speaking moments before the committee went into closed session on Tuesday to discuss the documents — protected by a rule under which Democrats were able to obtain Trump’s tax records from the Treasury Department — Brady said a potential decision to release a private citizen’s returns would be a “dangerous” political weapon.
“Going forward, the majority chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee will have nearly unlimited power to target and make public the tax returns of private citizens,” Brady said at a news conference.
“And not just private citizens,” he continued. “Political enemies, business and labor leaders or even the returns of Supreme Court justices themselves. No party in Congress should have that power. No individuals in Congress could have that power. It’s the power to embarrass, to harass or destroy Americans through disclosure of their tax returns.”
The committee remained in closed session as of early Tuesday evening, and lawmakers could vote at Tuesday’s meeting to publicly release Trump’s tax return information.
The committee recently received access to the former president’s tax returns between 2015 and 2020 after a years-long legal battle that culminated in an order from the Supreme Court, which paved the way for lawmakers to access the documents.
Trump drew frustration from Democrats by opting against releasing his tax returns upon entering office, breaking with decades of precedent for presidents.
Democrats in the years since have engaged in a prolonged legal battle seeking access to the documents, and Tuesday’s meeting could help close the book on the matter.
“What we know for certain is that Democrats are unleashing a dangerous new political weapon that’s going to have severe consequences,” Brady said on Tuesday.
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