Dems press Mnuchin on Trump tax returns

Dems press Mnuchin on Trump tax returns
© Anna Moneymaker
“Are you willing to provide and fulfill the command of the statute, and your mandatory duty to properly release any personal and business tax returns for President Trump that you’re requested to provide,” Rep. Lloyd DoggettLloyd Alton DoggettOn The Money: Senate rejects border declaration in rebuke to Trump | Dems press Mnuchin on Trump tax returns | Waters says Wells Fargo should fire its CEO Dems press Mnuchin on Trump tax returns Congress must break its addiction to unjust tax extenders MORE (D-Texas) asked Mnuchin during a House Ways and Means Committee hearing.
Mnuchin responded by saying he would first consult with legal counsel at the Treasury Department.
“The answer is, if I receive a request, which I presume from what I’ve read in the press I will receive, I will consult with the legal department within Treasury and I will follow the law,” he said.
Democrats cited section 6103 of the tax code, which instructs the Treasury secretary to turn over any tax returns requested by the chair of the Ways and Means Committee. The provision also allows for the heads of the Senate Finance Committee and Joint Committee on Taxation to request the documents.
Mnuchin testified that Trump has not asked him to intervene if Congress requests his tax returns, and said he had not discussed the issue with anyone at the White House, including Trump’s attorneys.
But Mnuchin raised questions about whether turning over the returns might violate the president’s privacy, previewing a possible reason to refuse the request.
“I’m not aware if there’s ever been a request for an elected official’s tax return, but we will follow the law and we would protect the president as we would protect any individual taxpayer under their rights,” he said.
Rep. Kenny MarchantKenny Ewell MarchantTreasury expands penalty relief to more taxpayers Dems press Mnuchin on Trump tax returns Mnuchin to consider providing more penalty relief for taxpayers MORE (R-Texas) echoed that perspective, saying his constituents “do not want to go to bed at night thinking that there might be some possibility that the IRS or the Treasury could view that tax return or make that tax return public to anybody.”
Trump broke tradition in 2016 when he became the first presidential nominee in decades not to release his tax returns.
Democrats hope that unearthing the president’s returns might expose conflicts of interest or how he ran his business, or perhaps embarrass the president if the documents show his wealth is less than he has indicated.
Democrats on Thursday took the opportunity to pressure Mnuchin to comply with the request if he receives it.
Rep. Jimmy GomezJimmy GomezOcasio-Cortez, Jimmy Gomez do pushups during House hearing break Dems press Mnuchin on Trump tax returns Cohen's charges make getting Trump's taxes even more important MORE (D-Calif.) asked if such a request had ever been denied, saying that in 2017 there had been 151 million such disclosures.
Mnuchin responded that the figures referred to sharing tax information within the government and with states.
“This is a bulk issue. This is different from what I read about in the press,” he said.
Rep. Linda SanchezLinda Teresa SánchezDems press Mnuchin on Trump tax returns Hispanic Dems announce task forces for 116th Congress Dem added to Ways and Means Committee amid desire for more Hispanic members MORE (D-Calif.) pointed to a statute that makes concealing data from a congressional inquiry a fireable offense for IRS employees, and asked Mnuchin if it applied to his agency's staff.
“Should this apply to Treasury employees as well?” she asked.
Mnuchin demurred, saying he wouldn’t engage with hypothetical situations. 
“There’s an awful lot of interest in 6103,” he said.