Published: Wed, July 03, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

House Democrats File Lawsuit for Trump’s Tax Returns

House Democrats File Lawsuit for Trump’s Tax Returns

The House Ways and Means Committee filed the lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Treasury, secretary of the department Steven Mnuchin, the Internal Revenue Service, and commissioner of the service Charles Rettig in the U.S. District Court in Washington on July 2.

"I applaud Chairman Neal for filing a lawsuit today for the Ways and Means Committee to obtain President Trump's tax return", said Larson, D-1 District.

"The Democrats' partisan, flawed lawsuit continues their unprecedented and illegitimate pursuit to expose President Trump's private tax information", Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, the top Republican on the tax-writing committee.

Democrats argue in the court filing that the committee has the right to access Trump's private tax information under section 6103 of the US tax code which says "Treasury "shall furnish" the Committee with "any" requested tax return information" from any USA citizen, including the president.

In a letter to Ways and Means chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., in May, Mnuchin said Democrats were "weaponizing" the IRS to simply attack Trump politically and receiving his tax returns had no value.

Legal experts told Reuters that the court battle could extend well into the 2020 presidential election season.

The Treasury Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Neal has drawn criticism from outside activists for the lengthy amount of time it took to first issue the request, and then to file the lawsuit after his follow-up subpoena was refused.

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"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 at the Tax Policy Center, a nonpartisan think tank.

Mnuchin in May rejected a subpoena issued by Democrats on the committee. They've offered briefings and other information, but say tax returns must be shielded for privacy reasons. While the statute itself does not contain any requirement that the Committee set forth any such goal, two Supreme Court cases suggest that this limitation on Congressional subpoena power does exist.

"Despite its mandatory obligation, the Treasury Department failed to comply with the law and denied the committee's request", Neal said. Then again, maybe Democrats thought that Mueller had something they could use to impeach Trump.

Democrats have been trying to get Trump's tax returns since the campaign, but without success.

A Democratic-led U.S. House panel on Tuesday filed a long-awaited lawsuit in federal court to demand President Donald Trump's individual and business tax returns. "The lawlessness of this administration knows no bounds and courts are needed to force compliance".

Citing Section 6103 (f), the committee said it could request any tax information without disclosing why it wants the information.

The lawsuit piles onto several other court fights involving other committees and members of Congress seeking Trump financial records.

Neal could also have the option of requesting Trump's state tax returns from the New York Department of Taxation and Finance.

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