Dem lawmaker: 'Very serious doubts' that IRS is 'properly auditing' Trump

Dem lawmaker: 'Very serious doubts' that IRS is 'properly auditing' Trump
© Greg Nash

Rep. Dan KildeeDaniel (Dan) Timothy KildeeHollywood stars celebrate #RightToBearArts at DC gala Dems say NYT report on Trump's business losses boosts need to see president's tax returns Rising debt imperils Trump, Dem hopes on infrastructure MORE (D-Mich.) on Monday defended Democrats' request for President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: 'I will not let Iran have nuclear weapons' Rocket attack hits Baghdad's Green Zone amid escalating tensions: reports Buttigieg on Trump tweets: 'I don't care' MORE's tax returns, saying lawmakers have concerns about whether the IRS is "properly auditing" Trump.

"We are considering legislation that could affect the way the IRS treats a president of the United States, and we have very serious doubts as to whether or not the IRS is properly auditing and enforcing the tax law on the president of the United States," Kildee, a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, said on CNN one day before a deadline for the administration to provide Trump's returns.

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Trump has long said he won't voluntarily release the documents because he is under audit. But the president's former attorney, Michael CohenMichael Dean CohenStormy Daniels reaches settlement with Michael Cohen, ex-lawyer  Trump associate gave US government Osama bin Laden's phone number, judge says The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Pass USMCA Coalition - After GOP infighting, Trump Jr. agrees to testify again MORE, said at a congressional hearing earlier this year that he wasn't sure if Trump was under audit during the 2016 election.

Trump in 2016 became the first major-party nominee in decades to not release his returns.

When asked Monday if he believes Trump is under audit now, Kildee replied, "I have no way to know." Kildee said that lawmakers "can't go by what he says, because Donald Trump has a very loose relationship with the truth."

Kildee also noted that the IRS has a policy of auditing sitting presidents, but that that policy is not law.

"There is no legal requirement that the IRS audit a president. It has been a practice. That's one of the areas that we're considering when we look at the legislative approach to this issue," he said.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard NealRichard Edmund NealDems walk Trump trade tightrope On The Money: Treasury rejects Dem subpoena for Trump tax returns | Companies warn trade war about to hit consumers | Congress, White House to launch budget talks next week | Trump gets deal to lift steel tariffs on Mexico, Canada READ: Mnuchin refuses to provide Trump's tax returns MORE (D-Mass.) cited the panel's interest in legislation relating to how the IRS audits presidents when he requested on April 3 that the IRS provide the committee with six years of Trump's personal and business tax returns, from 2013-2018.

Neal initially gave the administration until April 10 to provide the tax returns, but officials missed that deadline. Neal then sent the IRS a second letter to the agency, setting a new deadline of April 23 at 5 p.m.

The administration is expected to miss the second deadline as well, given Trump's desire to keep his returns private. An outside lawyer for Trump has argued that Neal's stated purpose is pretext and that Democrats really just want to score political points against Trump.

Kildee said that "it's not up to the executive branch to reach into the legislative branch and determine for themselves when there is a legitimate purpose for legislation."

He added that if the administration misses Neal's second deadline, Democrats "will pursue every legal avenue available to make sure that the law is upheld."