Daily Caller

Democrats Want Trump’s Tax Returns, But Face Big Hurdle To Get Them

Evie Fordham on April 12, 2019

House Democrats going after President Donald Trump’s tax returns will have to provide a legitimate legislative reason to answer why they want them should the Democrats take their quest to the courts.

Democrats say it is their responsibility to oversee the IRS and how it is auditing Trump’s tax returns. Republicans say the request is politically motivated.

But even though the Democrats point to a statute that says the Treasury Secretary “shall” give over any returns requested by heads of congressional tax committees, the courts may not agree, reported Politico.

Lawmakers like House Ways and Means Committee chair Richard Neal, who requested six years’ of Trump’s tax returns April 3, will need to provide a legitimate legislative reason for obtaining the documents, according to the courts.

“Broad as is [Congress’] power of inquiry, it is not unlimited,” the Supreme Court said in the 1957 case Watkins v. U.S. “There is no general authority to expose the private affairs of individuals without justification in terms of the functions of the Congress.”

If Democratic lawmakers cannot explain why they want to be given power that could allow them to share Trump’s confidential tax information with the public, they will be in trouble, reported Politico. This situation goes beyond Congress’ mundane power of examining companies’ confidential tax returns for policymaking purposes.

Republican Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley explained why he wasn’t interested in seeing Trump’s personal tax returns Monday.

“We want to make sure that what [former President Lyndon B. Johnson] did, what [former President Richard] Nixon did or what [former President Barack] Obama did — going after conservative organizations, that the IRS is not used for political purposes. But if you need to write legislation, then maybe you need some information from people that are avoiding taxes or using tax loopholes or maybe not finding a way to get out and you want to change the laws,” the senator said. “That’s the only reason you should be asking for tax returns.”

Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said Democrats will “never” succeed in obtaining the returns Sunday.

“Democrats are demanding that the IRS turn over the documents. That is not going to happen, and they know it. This is a political stunt,” Mulvaney said.

Both were reacting to Neal’s letter to the IRS Commissioner, in which he insisted, “This request is about policy, not politics.”

“Little is known about the effectiveness of this program [of auditing the president and vice president]. On behalf of the American people, the Ways and Means Committee must determine if that policy is being followed, and, if so, whether these audits are conducted fully and appropriately,” Neal wrote.

Follow Evie on Twitter @eviefordham.

Send tips to evie@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

Daily Caller

DCwire features investigative reporting syndicated with permission from the Daily Caller News Foundation.

View Comments

  • Why are Obamas school transcripts sealed? Could it be he attended college illegally as a foreign student? Why is his birth certificate from a hospital that did not exist at the time of his birth? Yet these dimocrats want Trumps tax records. No matter what the records contain Scmuck Chumer and the liberal socialists will never be satisfied.

    "Screw the American people, we have to get Trump!"

  • US law specified that any child born of an unwed American female citizen was a citizen at birth, no matter where they were born.
    Can you provide a legal marriage certificate for his mother and father.

    Of course not, his father was already married and never divorced. Duh.

  • They ought to go back to when Donald and family defrauded the government of the inheritance taxes. Failure to prosecute known tax fraud is an appropriate use for Congress' authority to monitor the IRS.

  • How do you know that the IRS doesn't go after the "big wigs"? The IRS audits about a million tax returns a year, and wouldn't it make sense that they would collect more from a "big-wig" who submits a flawed return than from someone poor? As for people who cannot afford to pay, there are deals that can be made with the IRS. Low income? How low? Most people with low income are not required to pay taxes. But the bottom line is that it is the politicians who make the tax laws so they are the ones to blame if and when the tax burden gets too high. And can you be certain that the people who say they were penalized actually were penalized? (No, I do not work for the IRS)

  • I'd much prefer the Fair Tax to completely eliminate all other taxes, which would also eliminate the IRS, eliminate income taxes and bingo! No more income tax returns. People would pay taxes only when they consume.

    Though there were no income tax when the Republic was founded, if the Founders had felt the need to impose more requirements for public office than they did, they would have. It was politicians and ill-informed voters that later allowed taxes to get over-complicated.

    I disagree that politicians should have to show their income tax returns. Unless and until there is strong evidence or proof that they have done something wrong, there is information in tax returns that would be abused, distorted, misunderstood and cause all sorts of unnecessary noise. Finding violations of tax laws in a tax returns is the job of the iRS. We need to select politicians based on what they did before they ran for office and judge them on what they do when they are in office.

    In the case of President Trump, the Democrats are desperate for anything they can find to destroy the presidency of a man who is doing great things for millions of Americans. Income taxes do not show how many jobs he created (10s of thousands) and how much tax the beneficiaries of his business acumen pay because they are in jobs they might not otherwise have.

    And as we learned from Obama, income tax returns do not prove citizenship. His school records remain sealed.

  • Correction. Our President is a billionaire who earned his money by creating that wealth. Politicians for the most part who are millionaires all too often get their money from the wealth creators and those to whom they distribute their wealth , not from creating wealth themselves.

  • Your sarcasm is misplaced. I neither said nor implied he is or is not a citizen. Whether he is a legal immigrant or an illegal alien (illegal aliens are not immigrants, they are invaders) is likely to be proven by his school records, which he will not release, and unfortunately he is protected by law from having to reveal them.

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