Politics - News Analysis
Desperate Trump is Doing Everything He Can to Prevent Having to Release His Tax Returns
People with nothing to hide just don't try this hard to hide things.
Trump is like a broken record at this point. Every attempt to investigate anything about his finances is met with stonewalling and denials.
After promising to release his tax returns during his campaign for the presidency, Trump famously reversed course. Throughout his one term in the White House, he rebuffed every bid to obtain the returns, claiming executive privilege.
But federal law dictates that the IRS must turn over the tax returns of any individual if they are requested by any of the congressional committees responsible for writing tax code.
The House Ways and Means Committee has demanded them in an effort to ascertain whether they were independently reviewed, free from pressure by the Trump White House. Chairman Richard Neal invoked the federal law on Tuesday, saying the committee was “concerned about whether the IRS had the resources and safeguards to audit the returns of Mr. Trump and similar future presidents effectively.”
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Trump’s lawyers tried to call the law unconstitutional since the Constitution doesn’t specifically provide Congress with the authority to seek the information. They failed to mention that the IRS didn’t even exist until nearly 100 years after our founding documents were written.
Predictably, his lawyers also argue that he is subject to the same protections he enjoyed during his time as president, since efforts to obtain his tax returns began in earnest during his stay in the Oval Office:
The committee’s request is effectively a request to a sitting president: it was issued while President Trump was in office, was continuously pursued, and has always been tied to his status as president.
Ways and Means lawyers pointed out that federal courts don’t even have the jurisdiction to examine the motives of a congressional committee, but assured the court that the request for his returns was for purely legal reasons. They also underscored the fact that this issue is actually addressed by a specific federal law.
This all comes as no surprise after the Justice Department changed hands from Trump to President Joe Biden. Trump’s DOJ had sided with the then-president in his claims of privilege, but under new leadership, the Department has overturned that decision.
Arguments in the matter are scheduled for November 16 in the DC District Court.