Progressive groups press Dem chairman to immediately request Trump's tax returns

Progressive groups press Dem chairman to immediately request Trump's tax returns
© Greg Nash

Several progressive groups are pressing House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard NealRichard Edmund NealTrump: My 'financial statement' will probably come out 'at some point' Trump: My 'financial statement' will probably come out 'at some point' Schiff blasts DOJ over memo on withholding Trump tax returns MORE to immediately request President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says 'Failing New York Times' should be held 'fully accountable' over Russia report Trump says 'Failing New York Times' should be held 'fully accountable' over Russia report Trump tweets ICE will begin removing 'millions' of undocumented migrants MORE’s tax returns from the Treasury Department, telling the Massachusetts Democrat that he shouldn’t be slow-walking the process.

Tax March, Stand up America and Indivisible said in a letter to Neal that requesting Trump’s tax returns is “not a request that can be relegated to the back-burner—it is necessary to restore democratic norms of transparency and accountability.”

The groups enclosed a draft letter that Neal could send to Treasury and the IRS to request the tax returns.

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A provision in federal law allows the chairmen of Congress’s tax-writing committees to request returns from Treasury, so that the documents can be reviewed in a closed session. A committee could then vote to send a report to the full House or Senate, which could make part or all of the tax returns public.

As the new chairman of the House’s tax-writing committee, Neal has the authority to request tax returns. Neal told reporters Thursday that he and his staff have had “preliminary conversations” on the tax-return issue and he plans to proceed “methodically and judiciously.”

The liberal groups are pushing Neal to act immediately, saying their request is “rooted in an attempt to understand how President Trump’s numerous conflicts of interests and significant financial entanglements are influencing the policies of this administration.”

The groups are also urging people to call Neal and other Democrats on the Ways and Means Committee and demand they start the process of obtaining Trump’s tax returns, according to a Tax March spokesman.

"Enough with the delays. Chairman Neal has had two whole years of the Trump presidency to prepare for this moment," Stand Up America President Sean Eldridge said in a news release.

When asked about the progressive groups’ push for quick action, Neal said that the effort to obtain Trump’s tax returns has to be prepared carefully, since the issue is likely to end up in court.

“It’s not subject to just whim and the emotion of the moment,” he said. “This has to be prepared in accordance with staff, House counsel and an understanding that this is likely to become the basis of a long and arduous court case.”