Published: Fri, July 05, 2019
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

House Democrats sue Trump administration in effort to secure president’s tax returns

House Democrats sue Trump administration in effort to secure president’s tax returns

But Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (inset) told the committee in May that he wouldn't be turning over the returns to the Democratic-controlled House.

The House Ways and Means Committee has filed a lawsuit seeking President Donald Trump's tax returns.

"The Chairman's request that Treasury turn over the President's tax returns, for the apparent goal of making them public, amounted to an unprecedented use of the Committee's authority and raised a serious risk of abuse", the opinion said.

The IRS insists a law allowing the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee to access any tax return is overreaching and not applicable, while House Democrats argue the administration is skirting the law. "The Committee is investigating the IRS's administration of various tax laws and policies relating to Presidential tax returns and tax law compliance by President Trump, including whether the IRS's self-imposed policy of annually auditing the returns of sitting presidents is working properly, even though it has not been updated in decades", the suit states.

The White House did not immediately respond Tuesday to the House committee's lawsuit.

The panel insists that reviewing the president's financial records is not only necessary based on historical precedent - every president since Richard Nixon has voluntarily disclosed their tax returns - but is heightened by a need to understand Trump's extensive business dealings.

Those last lawsuits filed by Trump in his personal capacity to halt disclosures from Mazars USA LLP, his accounting firm, and Deutsche Bank and Capital One, his former lenders, have already showed that the president is fighting a losing battle.

"The Administration also refused to comply with the subpoenas", Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., said in a statement. Democrats want the court to enforce a subpoena requesting the returns.

The lawsuit was filed in D.C. District Court against Treasury and the IRS and their respective leaders, Steve Mnuchin and Charles Rettig.

University of Iowa Law Professor Andy Grewal, who has written on the subject, said Tuesday he predicts the House committee may find early success in the lawsuit, but that the Supreme Court would ultimately rule that it does not have the power to bring the lawsuit.

"Put simply, the power of Congress to conduct investigations is inherent in the legislative process", Judge Edgardo Ramos said in his opinion on the Deutsche Bank and Capital One subpoenas on Thursday.

It asked the court to force the administration to comply. When a new House convenes with a new set of lawmakers in January 2021, Neal's subpoena will expire.

State visits and other activities that generate profit for the Trump International Hotel in Washington, located less than a mile from the White House, could be a violation of that clause.

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