Neal's primary challenger releases his tax returns

Neal's primary challenger releases his tax returns
© Greg Nash

Alex Morse — who is mounting a primary challenge to House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard NealRichard Edmund NealBusiness groups keep pressure for trade deal amid impeachment fight Overnight Health Care — Presented by National Taxpayers Union — House Dems change drug pricing bill to address progressive concerns | Top Republican rejects Dem proposal on surprise medical bills | Vaping group launches Fox News ad blitz Top Republican rejects Democratic chairman's approach to stopping surprise medical bills MORE (D-Mass.) — on Monday released several years of his tax returns, as some progressives have taken issue with Neal's approach to pursuing President TrumpDonald John TrumpZuckerberg launches public defense of Facebook as attacks mount Trump leaning toward keeping a couple hundred troops in eastern Syria: report Warren says making Israel aid conditional on settlement building is 'on the table' MORE's tax returns.

Morse, the mayor of Holyoke, Mass., released his federal and state tax returns from 2012 to 2018. 

In a video posted on his Twitter page, Morse said that he released his tax returns because he thinks "it's important for all candidates for federal office to be transparent about their potential conflicts of interest."

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He said that he wants people in Massachusetts's 1st Congressional District to "know that the only interest I'll be fighting for in the halls of Washington are the interests of you and the people here in western Mass."

Morse's 2018 federal tax return reported adjusted gross income of $80,280 and total taxes of $10,366. He reported charitable contributions of $2,000.

Neal's campaign said in a statement that the congressman "fully intends on releasing his tax returns." 

The release of Morse's tax returns comes as Neal has been working to obtain Trump's federal tax returns from 2013 to 2018. Neal has sent requests and subpoenas to the Treasury Department and IRS for the documents, but those have been rejected. In July, the Ways and Means Committee filed a lawsuit in an effort to get the administration to comply with Neal's requests and subpoenas.

Some progressive activists and left-leaning tax experts have expressed concerns that Neal has moved too slowly in pushing to obtain Trump's federal returns, reducing the likelihood that Congress will obtain the documents before the 2020 election. They've also expressed frustration that Neal hasn't been interested in using a New York law to request Trump's state tax returns from that state's department of taxation and finance.

Morse — who is challenging Neal from the left — said in an interview last month with "The Horse Race" podcast on Massachusetts politics that he's not running for Congress because of Neal's handling of the Trump tax return request. However, Morse said that Neal's handling of the tax return issue is "emblematic of his style, of his lack of urgency in this moment."

Neal has defended his methodical approach on Trump's tax returns, arguing that he has been following the advice of the House's lawyers. He has said that he's acted carefully because he expected that the dispute would end up in court.