Dems press Mnuchin on Trump tax returns

Dems press Mnuchin on Trump tax returns
© Anna Moneymaker
House Democrats on Thursday pressed Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinThe Hill's Morning Report — After contentious week, Trump heads for Japan Artist designs stamp to put Harriet Tubman's face over Jackson's on bills On The Money: Senate passes disaster aid bill after deal with Trump | Trump to offer B aid package for farmers | House votes to boost retirement savings | Study says new tariffs to double costs for consumers MORE on whether he would comply with a request to turn over President TrumpDonald John TrumpNASA exec leading moon mission quits weeks after appointment The Hill's Morning Report — After contentious week, Trump heads for Japan Frustration boils over with Senate's 'legislative graveyard' MORE’s tax returns, a long-sought goal of congressional Democrats.
“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 DoggettDemocrats seize on IRS memo in Trump tax battle Treasury Department rejects Dem subpoena for Trump tax returns On The Money: New tariffs on China pose major risk for Trump | Senators sound alarm over looming budget battles | Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders team up against payday lenders 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.
Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard NealRichard Edmund NealRepublicans attempt to amend retirement savings bill to include anti-BDS language House votes to boost retirement savings Steyer plans impeachment push targeting Democrats over recess MORE (D-Mass.) has faced pressure from progressives to request the returns but has yet to formally start the process.
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 MarchantDCCC opens Texas office to protect House pickups, target vulnerable GOP seats Treasury expands penalty relief to more taxpayers Dems press Mnuchin on Trump tax returns 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.
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 SánchezWe can accelerate a cure for Alzheimer's Dems press Mnuchin on Trump tax returns Hispanic Dems announce task forces for 116th Congress 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.