U.S. House panel sues Treasury, IRS over Trump's tax returns

U.S. House panel sues Treasury, IRS over Trump's tax returns

The Democratic-controlled House Ways and Means Committee filed suit in U.S. District Court Tuesday after Trump refused to comply with a 1924 law giving the panel's chairman the right to obtain the returns.

In June, the Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel issued a 33-page opinion backing Mnuchin, arguing that because Neal wanted to make the president's tax returns public, the request lacked a legitimate legislative function. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin refused to turn them over, claiming the Democrats' request lacked "a legitimate legislative objective".

However, the top Republican on the committee and its former chairman, Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, said he would introduce a House resolution to oppose the lawsuit saying it "weaponizes the tax code and puts every taxpayer at risk".

The committee says it doesn't have to explain its reasons for seeking President Trump's tax return information.

The House Ways and Means Committee on Friday issued a subpoena for President Trump's tax returns.

Congress retorts that its powers to compel information are far more sweeping than that and encompass oversight of important matters in general - and that its decisions about what information it wants to subpoena are not to be second-guessed by the White House.

In the lawsuit, Neal cites multiple statements from Trump lashing out at the IRS for "unfairly" auditing him, as well as press reports suggesting that the President has used "complex arrangements of his personal and business finances" to skate on his taxes. "I have no doubt our lower courts will side with congress", Bill Pascrell, a Democrat committee member who has helped lead the campaign to obtain Trump's returns, wrote on Twitter.

Ways and means chairman Richard Neal said in May he was consulting with lawyers on how best to enforce his subpoena to get Trump's tax returns.

University of Iowa Law Professor Andy Grewal, who has written on the subject, said Tuesday he predicts the House committee may find early success in the lawsuit, but that the Supreme Court would ultimately rule that it does not have the power to bring the lawsuit.

The state legislature voted in May to share tax return information with a congressional committee that asks for it. "The lawlessness of this administration knows no bounds and courts are needed to force compliance". When a new House convenes with a new set of lawmakers in January 2021, Neal's subpoena will expire.

"Indeed, President Trump himself has repeatedly questioned the integrity of the process by which the IRS audits his tax returns, complaining that his returns are under "continuous audit" and that the IRS's policy of annually auditing Presidential returns is 'extremely unfair, '" the lawsuit states.

In two other court cases, Trump has tried to stop the House Oversight Committee, the House Intelligence Committee and the House Financial Services Committee from getting his financial records from Capital One bank, Deutsche Bank and the accounting firm Mazars USA.

Related Articles