The Trump administration 'has no basis whatsoever to refuse to comply with this request,' said Rep. Richard Neal, chair of the House Ways and Means Committee.
It has been 400 days since Congress sent a letter to the Internal Revenue Service demanding to see Donald Trump's personal and business taxes from 2013 to 2018.
For more than a year, Trump has refused to comply with the April 3, 2019 request from Rep. Richard Neal, chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, despite a law requiring him to do so.
"I used my authority to make this request as part of the Committee's legitimate legislative and oversight functions," Neal said in an email this week.
He added that the Trump administration "has no basis whatsoever to refuse to comply with this request" and said he continues to fight in federal court to force the administration to follow the law.
The Trump administration has repeatedly refused to hand over Trump's returns to the committee, with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin claiming Neal "lacks a legitimate legislative purpose" to request them.
In May 2019, Mnuchin rejected a congressional subpoena demanding Trump's tax returns.
The tax code explicitly gives the chairs of the House Ways and Means Committee and Senate Finance Committee the right to see any person's tax returns. Historical records show that Congress used this law to review President Richard Nixon's tax returns.
The Treasury Department did not respond to repeated requests for comment.
Except for Trump, every president since Nixon has publicly released their tax returns. And before the election, Trump himself promised he would do the same.
"If I decide to run for office, I'll produce my tax returns, absolutely," Trump said in 2014. "And I would love to do that."
In February 2016, Trump argued that his tax returns were being audited, and in May promised to release them once the audit was complete. He suggested the returns would be released before the election.
That never happened.
"After 400 days of obstruction and lies, it's clear the President is disobeying the law because there is information about himself he wants to hide from the public," Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA), a member of the Ways and Means Committee, said in an email.
She added, "No matter how you slice it, his response to Chairman Neal's legal request shows a disrespect for our laws and the American people. We know the law is on our side, but it shouldn't take a court ruling for the President to be honest with the American people."
Neal has since filed a lawsuit demanding Mnuchin comply with the May 2019 subpoena.
A federal judge has placed a hold on the case pending the outcome of a related lawsuit filed by the House Judiciary Committee, asking the courts to enforce a subpoena requiring former White House counsel Don McGahn to testify before Congress.
The committee has argued that McGahn was "the most important witness, other than the president, to the key events" related to possible obstruction outlined in former special counsel Robert Mueller's final report on Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.