The Jury Talks Back

4/4/2019

Democrats Request Trump Tax Returns, As Apparently Allowed by Law

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 9:43 pm

Washington Post (h/t JVW):

The White House said Thursday that Democratic efforts to obtain President Donald Trump’s tax records are “political games.”

A House committee chairman formally asked the IRS Wednesday to provide six years of Trump’s personal tax returns and the returns for some of his businesses as Democrats try to shed light on his complex financial dealings and potential conflicts of interest.

The request by Massachusetts Rep. Richard Neal, who heads the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, is the first such demand for a sitting president’s tax information in 45 years. The unprecedented move is likely to set off a huge legal battle between Democrats controlling the House and the Trump administration.

Neal made the request Wednesday in a letter to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig, asking for Trump’s personal and business returns for 2013 through 2018. He asked for the documents in seven days, setting an April 10 deadline.

Trump told reporters Wednesday he “would not be inclined” to provide his tax returns to the committee. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Thursday morning that the White House “is not interested in playing a bunch of political games like the Democrats in Congress clearly want to spend their time doing.”

I’m not sure it matters whether Trump is inclined to provide his tax returns or not. At least facially, what appears to matter is whether the Chair of the Ways and Means Committee wants to see them. Here’s the text of 26 U.S.C. § 6103:

(f) Disclosure to Committees of Congress

(1) Committee on Ways and Means, Committee on Finance, and Joint Committee on Taxation

Upon written request from the chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives, the chairman of the Committee on Finance of the Senate, or the chairman of the Joint Committee on Taxation, the Secretary shall furnish such committee with any return or return information specified in such request, except that any return or return information which can be associated with, or otherwise identify, directly or indirectly, a particular taxpayer shall be furnished to such committee only when sitting in closed executive session unless such taxpayer otherwise consents in writing to such disclosure.

So it looks like the committee would have to sit in closed executive session, but I bet Richard Neal can make sure they do that.

Sure, it’s unprecedented, but so is not providing your tax returns as President, lying about the reason you won’t do it, the endless opportunities for foreign bribery of a President who maintains a financial interest in his companies, and a lot of other stuff. The point is, unless there is a mystery decision out there saying the language doesn’t mean what it appears to mean, the Democrats can do this.

And I think it’s great.

Let Trump and his fans howl. I don’t care. I think he’s a criminal and I think his tax returns are one of the keys to the box. As the old-time adventure video games would have said:

Obtain key. Use key. Open box.


Powered by WordPress.