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Grassley says disclosing Trump's tax records without authorization could violate law

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyOn The Money: Power players play chess match on COVID-19 aid | Pelosi bullish, Trump tempers optimism | Analysis: Nearly 1M have run out of jobless benefits Grassley: Voters should be skeptical of Biden's pledge to not raise middle class taxes GOP to Trump: Focus on policy MORE (R-Iowa) on Tuesday suggested that any effort by the Senate to obtain and disclose President TrumpDonald John TrumpMore than 300 military family members endorse Biden Five takeaways from the final Trump-Biden debate Biden: 'I would transition from the oil industry' MORE’s tax records so soon before the election could violate the internal revenue code.

Grassley, when pressed by a reporter over whether he would seek to obtain Trump’s tax records, indicated that he’s worried about them being used for “political purposes” before Election Day.

Senate Republicans are under pressure to delve into Trump’s tax records after The New York Times published a bombshell report Sunday that Trump paid no federal income taxes in 11 of 18 years and that he claimed a $72.9 million tax refund that is now the subject of an IRS audit.

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The Times also reported that Trump owes $421 million in loans that are coming due within four years, which Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrump predicts GOP will win the House Hillicon Valley: Five takeaways on new election interference from Iran, Russia | Schumer says briefing on Iranian election interference didn't convince him effort was meant to hurt Trump | Republicans on Senate panel subpoena Facebook, Twitter CEOs | On The Money: Pelosi cites progress, but says COVID-19 relief deal might be post-election | Eviction crisis sparked by pandemic disproportionately hits minorities | Weekly jobless claims fall to 787K MORE (D-Calif.) said raises “a national security question.”

Asked Tuesday if he would obtain Trump’s tax returns, Grassley replied: “I checked and 6103 doesn’t allow tax returns to be used for political purposes.”

Section 6203 of the tax code states that individual and business tax returns are confidential and that federal officers or employees may not disseminate those returns or the information in them without the taxpayer’s consent.

But the law provides an exception for congressional committees with jurisdiction over taxes, such as Grassley’s Finance panel.

A congressional inquiry that requests tax records, however, must do so to further a “legislative purpose,” according to a Congressional Research Service report published in 2019.

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The Congressional Research Service concluded in its report that Congress does not possess the power to obtain private tax records when its inquiry is not intended to result in legislation.

The Supreme Court ruled in July that Congress could not review Trump’s tax records before a lower court scrutinized whether a congressional request was justified by significant legislative interest and balanced it against the president’s position as the head of an equal and separate branch of the federal government.

Other Senate Republicans on Tuesday demurred when asked about The Times’ reporting on Trump’s tax records, asserting it is difficult to verify claims about how much Trump paid in taxes or how much he owes in loans without original documents.

“I’ve seen the New York Times’ reporting on it but it’s based on documents that the Time declined to disclose. By all appearances, those documents were given to The Times in violation of federal criminal laws,” said Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzQuinnipiac poll finds Biden, Trump tied in Texas China could cut our access to critical minerals at any time — here's why we need to act The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Goldman Sachs - Two weeks out, Trump attempts to rally the base MORE (R-Texas). “Without the actual documents it’s difficult to ascertain their veracity, to know what The Times is including and what they’re excluding.”