Published: Sun, April 14, 2019
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Trump has 10 days to turn over tax returns, Democrats say

Trump has 10 days to turn over tax returns, Democrats say

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Richard Neal extended the deadline for President Donald Trump to release his tax returns after an initial deadline passed.

The letter comes after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin informed the Committee he would not be able to review the Committee's request for President Donald Trump's tax returns by the April 10th deadline.

As Ways and Means chairman, Neal is the only lawmaker in the House of Representatives authorized to request individual tax information under a federal law that says that the Treasury secretary "shall furnish" the data. "Please know that if you fail to comply, your failure will be interpreted as a denial of my request", Neal said in the letter. Mnuchin so far has only postponed responding to Democrats' request and said he would confer with the Justice Department, but not yet rejected it. He said that he was under audit and didn't intend to turn anything over until that process had been completed.

Earlier this month, Neal wrote to the IRS, asking for six years of the president's personal and business tax returns.

On Monday, lawmakers in NY proposed a bill that would allow the commissioner of the state's Department of Taxation and Finance to turn over state tax returns if requested by certain congressional committees. One would have moved people who had already been detailed and were being held elsewhere to places with Democratic opponents of the president, while the other would have transported migrants apprehended at the border directly to San Francisco, New York City, Chicago and other spots.

Trump broke with a long-established norm during the 2016 elections by refusing to release his income tax returns, as most presidents have done since the 1970s even though it is not required by law.

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The House Democrats' asked that the returns be turned over to the members of Congress. Neal also could seek the returns through a subpoena. They would then decide whether to release them publicly, but the political pressure among Democrats to do so would be high, as would the resistance among Republicans.

Mnuchin had told Neal this past week that he needs more time to consider the unprecedented demand for Trump's returns and needs to consult with the Justice Department about it. But he also acknowledged his "statutory responsibilities" and that he respects congressional oversight. Yet Trump suggested on Friday that the proposal is not dead and buried.

Trump claimed it wouldn't make sense to release his tax returns while, he said, they are under audit.

On Saturday, Neal said the administration has no right "to question or second guess" his motivations.

William Consovoy, whose firm was retained by Trump to represent him on the matter, has written the Treasury's general counsel and said the congressional request "would set a risky precedent" if granted and that the IRS can not legally divulge the information.

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