House Democrats have filed a lawsuit in an attempt to force the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to turn over the President Trump’s tax returns, according to the Washington Post, citing a public court filing.
The House Ways and Means Committee, chaired by Rep. Richard E. Neal (D-MA), filed the lawsuit against the IRS Tuesday morning following a months-long impasse with the Trump administration over the returns.
The request had been denied several times by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, whose decision to ignore a May subpoena from Neal’s committee was backed by the Justice Department in June after the DOJ advised it.
Mnuchin’s refusal caused Neal to seek a court battle which legal experts believe may go all the way to the Supreme Court, according to the Post. a
The lawsuit will also sort out a range of oversight questions between the Executive Branch and Congress.
“This is a big deal that goes to the core of our government’s checks and balances, and could for many years shape the relationship between the executive and legislative branches,” said Steven Rosenthal, a legal expert with the Tax Policy Center.
House Democrats and legal experts have pointed to a 1924 law that explicitly gives lawmakers the authority to seek the records, but the Trump administration has characterized Neal’s request as a partisan maneuver to embarrass his political opponents. Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s acting chief of staff, has said Democrats will “never” see Trump’s returns. –Washington Post
Responding to Rep. Neal’s April demand for the personal and business returns from 2013 to 2018, Trump said that the law is “100 percent” on his side over his decision not to release the returns, adding that he “absolutely” would once the IRS stops auditing him.
“Hey, I’m under audit. But that’s up to whoever it is. From what I understand the law is 100 percent on my side,” Trump told reporters. He has told his advisers that he’s willing to take the fight to the Supreme Court, and has publicly argued that since he won the election, his taxes should no longer be of concern.
— The Hill (@thehill) April 5, 2019
The IRS, meanwhile, has stated that audits don’t preclude people from releasing their own tax information.
Neal’s subpoenas to Mnuchin and IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig requested the IRS turn over Trump’s individual income tax returns, all “administrative files” such as affidavits for those income tax returns, and income tax returns for a number of Trump’s business holdings such as the Donald Trump Revocable Trust, an umbrella entity that controls dozens of other businesses including the Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida. –Washington Post
Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns during the 2016 presidential election is a break from decades of precedent, according to the Post. That said, there’s never been a billionaire in the White House.