Published: Fri, May 24, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Treasury's Mnuchin: No Discussion With White House on Trump's Taxes

Treasury's Mnuchin: No Discussion With White House on Trump's Taxes

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Wednesday said he had not discussed releasing President Donald Trump's tax returns with the White House, and disagreed with an IRS memo that reportedly concluded he should release them to Congress. Though other Congressional committees "must include a objective for their request for returns and return information when seeking access", the House Ways and Means Committee, along with the Senate Finance Committee and the Joint Committee on Taxation, does not have to provide a reason for requesting tax information.

But according to the IRS memo, which has not been previously reported, the disclosure of tax returns to the committee "is mandatory, requiring the Secretary to disclose returns, and return information, requested by the tax-writing Chairs".

The paper said the IRS said the draft memo - titled "Congressional Access to Returns and Return Information" - did not represented the IRS' "official position". Now, The Washington Post obtained an internal IRS legal memo saying that Mnuchin's excuse for not turning over Trump's tax returns is complete poppycock (you can read the entire 10-page memo here). The agency told the Post that IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig and current chief counsel Michael Desmond were unfamiliar with it until the Post asked them about it.

The fight continues over President Trump's tax returns with Democrats demanding copies which the president says he can't provide because he's under audit.

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"T$3 he Secretary's obligation to disclose return and return information would not be affected by the failure of a tax writing committee ... to state a reason for the request". He is the first president since Watergate to decline to make his tax returns public, often claiming that he would release them if he was not under audit. "I have been advised I am not violating the law". "We are trying to find out who wrote the memo, where it came from, when it was, and why it wasn't distributed".

Mnuchin last Friday refused to obey a congressional subpoena to turn over the returns, saying he request "lacks a legitimate legislative goal".

In making that decision, Mnuchin stated he relied on the recommendations of the Justice Department. The reason why he does not want us to see his tax returns is likely because he wants to keep his business network hidden-perhaps due to the fact that one of his businesses was hit with what was at the time, the largest anti-money laundering fine ever given out to a casino, and Trump Taj Mahal admitted to "long standing anti-money laundering violations". The Ways and Means Committee did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Neal has already indicated he does not plan to take that step. Political candidates aren't required to disclose their tax returns, though traditionally all candidates do.

Mr. Trump broke with decades of precedent by declining to release any returns during the presidential campaign, citing an ongoing audit.

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