White House: Trump Will Defy Today's Tax Returns Deadline
Do you support House Democrats requesting Trump’s tax returns?
by Countable | 4.23.19
UPDATE - April 11, 2019:
- The Internal Revenue Service has until 5pm EDT Tuesday to hand over six years of President Donald Trump's personal and business tax returns or it will face a legal battle.
- White House spokesman Hogan Gidley told Fox News Tuesday that the administration has no plans to release them.
"The president is pretty clear once he’s out of audit he’ll think about doing it but he is not inclined to do so at this time," Gidley said. "No one cares about ridiculous charges about tax returns and all types of other things that Democrats are doubling down on today."
- Rep. Richard Neal of Massachusetts, the Democratic chairman of the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee, informed IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig in a letter that failure to comply would be viewed as a denial.
"It is not the proper function of the IRS, Treasury or Justice to question or second guess the motivations of the committee or its reasonable determinations regarding its need for the requested tax returns and return information," Neal wrote to Rettig. "Please know that if you fail to comply, your failure will be interpreted as a denial of my request."
- During a recent hearing, Rettig said that the decision rested with his boss, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and that Mnuchin has no plans to comply.
"I'm not going to make a commitment prematurely as to whether we will be able to conclude our legal review within that deadline or not," Mnuchin told CNN earlier this month. "Obviously, given the importance of this issue we have people working on this diligently. But again I would emphasize this is a decision that has enormous precedence in potentially weaponizing the IRS."
- Democrats disagree. “The law is on our side," Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) told Reuters. "The law is clearer than crystal. They have no choice: they must abide by (it)."
Earlier updates to this story appear below.
UPDATE - April 11, 2019:
- Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has failed to meet House Democrats’ Wednesday deadline to release the president’s tax returns.
- In a letter to Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA), chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, Mnuchin said that his agency had consulted with the Justice Department to review the lawfulness of the request.
Mnuchin said the request raises "serious issues concerning the constitutional scope of Congressional investigative authority, the legitimacy of the asserted legislative purpose, and the constitutional rights of American citizens.”
- Shortly after Mnuchin's letter was released, Rep. Neal said he would “consult with counsel and determine the appropriate response to the commissioner in the coming days.”
- IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig confirmed at a House Appropriations Subcommittee on Tuesday that there is "no rule that would prohibit the release of a tax return because it's under audit." For the past three years, Trump has been using the defense that he can't release his returns while under audit.
Countable's earlier reporting on this story appears below.
UPDATE - April 6, 2019:
- A lawyer for President Donald Trump is calling on the IRS to reject Democrats' demands for the president's tax returns, telling the agency it would set a "dangerous precedent."
“For good reason, it would be a gross abuse of power for the majority to use tax returns as a weapon to attack, harass, and intimidate their political opponents. Once this Pandora’s box is opened, the ensuing tit-for-tat will do lasting damage to our nation,” William S. Consovoy said in a letter to the Treasury’s general counsel.
- Friday's letter came in response to a request by House Ways and Means Committee chairman Richard Neal (D-MA), who formally asked the IRS to turn over six years of Trump’s tax returns to help give Democrats insight into potential ethical or legal conflicts of interest the president may have.
- Consovoy disagreed, writing:
“Even if Ways and Means had a legitimate committee purpose for requesting the President’s tax returns and return information, that purpose is not driving Chairman Neal’s request,” Consovoy wrote. “His request is a transparent effort by one political party to harass an official from the other party because they dislike his politics and speech."
Countable's original story appears below.
What’s the story?
- House Ways and Means Committee chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) has formally asked the IRS to turn over six years of President Donald Trump’s tax returns to help give Democrats insight into potential ethical or legal conflicts of interest Trump may have.
- In a letter sent to the Internal Revenue Service on Wednesday, Neal requested the president’s personal tax returns from 2013 to 2018 and the tax returns of eight of Trump’s business entities.
"Under the Internal Revenue Manual, individual income tax returns of a President are subject to mandatory examination, but this practice is IRS policy and not codified in the Federal tax laws," Neal wrote in a letter to the IRS. "It is necessary for the committee to determine the scope of any such examination and whether it includes a review of underlying business activities required to be reported on the individual income tax return."
What’s been the response?
- Trump on Wednesday said he wasn’t inclined to provide his tax returns until he’s no longer under audit.
"Now, we're under audit, despite what people said. We're working that out as I'm always under audit it seems. But I've been under audit because the numbers are big and I guess when you have a name you're audited. But until such time as I'm not under audit I would not be inclined to do that.”
- Asked about the letter, Neal told CNN that the committee’s request was about “policy, not politics.”
"My preparations were made on my own track and timeline, entirely independent of other activities in Congress and the administration," Neal said. "My actions reflect an abiding reverence for our democracy and our institutions, and are in no way based on emotion of the moment or partisanship. I trust that in this spirit, the IRS will comply with federal law and furnish me with the requested documents in a timely manner."
What do you think?
Do you support House Democrats requesting Trump’s tax returns? Take action and tell your reps, then share your thoughts below.
(Photo Credit: @RealDonaldTrump via Twitter)
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