A letter could land on the Treasury Department desk within weeks.
Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA), chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, has been working for weeks to craft a letter to the IRS demanding Trump's tax returns. Now, according to the Washinton Post, he is expected to send it within the next few weeks.
The House Ways and Means Committee has had to work extensively to ensure the letter stands up to all forms of scrutiny, as Neal and the Democratic majority expect the Trump administration, through Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, to refuse their request, resulting in a court battle.
If the issue is litigated, for example, Democrats will need to prove their demand is part of Congress's "lawmaking function or its oversight responsibilities," George Yin, former chief of staff for Congress's Joint Committee on Taxation, told the Post.
House Democrats, fulfilling their Constitutional oversight role, are interested in learning more about Trump's possible conflicts of interest, any improper business relationships, and undue influence from foreign governments like Russia or Saudi Arabia.
At last week's hearing with Michael Cohen, Trump's longtime attorney and "fixer," Cohen confirmed that Congress needed Trump's tax returns to determine if Trump broke the law to avoid paying millions in state and federal taxes.
Before running for president, Trump promised he would release his taxes. "If I decide to run for office, I'll produce my tax returns, absolutely," Trump said in May 2014. It was one of nine times Trump indicated he would release his taxes before the election.
But he never did.
Outside groups also cheered the move by Neal to obtain the tax returns. "For far too long, the public has been kept in the dark about Donald Trump's conflicts of interest and financial entanglements," Ryan Thomas, spokesperson for Tax March, said in a statement. The group has advocated for Trump to release his taxes for years, and praised Neal's leadership for "conducting the critical oversight needed to hold him accountable."
Trump is willing to break campaign promises, and possibly the law, to avoid having to show his tax returns. Which leads to the inevitable question: What is he hiding?
Soon, we might find out.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.