House Democrats to renew effort to obtain Trump’s tax returns next year
House Democrats are planning to renew their efforts to obtain President Trump’s federal tax returns after he leaves office next year.
“Based on the principle of the issue, not the politics of it, yes, you have to stay with the case,” House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) told The Wall Street Journal this week.
Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.), a senior Ways and Means Committee member who has been a leading advocate for obtaining Trump’s tax returns, told the Journal that lawmakers “have an obligation to examine this and follow the money.”
In April 2019, Neal requested Trump’s personal and business tax returns from 2013 through 2018 from the IRS. He cited a provision in the federal tax code that states that the Treasury secretary “shall furnish” tax returns requested by the chairpeople of Congress’s tax committees.
Neal has said that the Ways and Means Committee wants Trump’s tax returns because the panel is conducting oversight and considering legislative proposals relating to how the IRS enforces tax laws against presidents.
The Trump administration rejected Neal’s request and subsequent subpoenas, arguing that House Democrats lack a legitimate legislative purpose for obtaining Trump’s tax returns. The Ways and Means Committee then filed a lawsuit, which has yet to be resolved.
President-elect Joe Biden’s administration could choose to respond to Neal’s requests by providing the Ways and Means Committee with Trump’s tax returns. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) predicted in August that Neal would be able to obtain Trump’s tax returns under a Biden administration.
A spokesperson for Biden told the Journal that “President-elect Biden has made clear that he will have an independent Department of Justice, free of improper political influence, and that they’ll be tasked with following the letter of the law in any decision they make.”
Earlier this month, the Ways and Means Committee moved to drop its appeal of a judge’s order that requires the panel to give notice if it requests Trump’s New York tax returns under a state law.
Neal has never requested Trump’s state tax returns. A committee spokesperson said that the panel dropped the appeal on the advice of counsel and was going to focus on its case over obtaining Trump’s federal tax returns.