Democrats vote to release six years of Trump's tax returns | The Hill

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  jbb  •  2 months ago  •  17 comments

By:   Tobias Burns (The Hill)

Democrats vote to release six years of Trump's tax returns | The Hill
Democrats on the main tax-writing committee in the House voted during a closed-door meeting on Tuesday to make six years of former President Trump's tax returns public — the culmination of years of Democratic efforts to obtain Trump's financial records and a move that Republicans view as a provocation as they assume control of the…

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by Tobias Burns - 12/20/22 7:50 PM ET

Democrats on the main tax-writing committee in the House voted during a closed-door meeting on Tuesday to make six years of former President Trump's tax returns public — the culmination of years of Democratic efforts to obtain Trump's financial records and a move that Republicans view as a provocation as they assume control of the House.

The returns encompass years 2015 to 2020 and could be released within a few days, Ways and Means leader Richard Neal (D-Mass.), said after the vote. The returns will be attached to a package of two reports from the Ways and Means Committee to the broader Congress about the presidential audit system of the IRS.

The reports are expected to be released this evening. Trump's tax returns are being redacted to remove information like bank account and social security numbers, and that process could take a few days, committee members said.

Democrats are remaining tight-lipped about the substance of the returns prior to their public release since private tax returns are protected documents and the IRS has yet to complete their audits. Republican committee leader Rep. Kevin Brady (Texas) said there wasn't yet a final determination on what Trump may owe in taxes for those years.

"I think we need to leave that to the tax folks," Neal said.

The committee voted along party lines, 24-16, to make the returns public, with Democrats voting in favor and Republicans voting against.

Republicans blasted the decision to release the returns, warning that the move will usher in a new era of disclosing personal financial documents as a "political weapon."

"This meeting actually sets a terrible precedent that unleashes a dangerous new political weapon that reaches far beyond the former president," Ways and Means Republican leader Kevin Brady (R-Texas) told reporters on Tuesday.

"I won't speculate on what the next Congress and this committee will focus on related to tax returns, but I do know that a major focus will be on the IRS," he said.

Progressive groups cheered on the Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday after the decision release the tax returns to the public.

"Tax fairness starts at the top: if the president is not paying his fair share or is otherwise abusing the tax laws, the American people have the right to know," Frank Clemente, director of the Americans for Tax Fairness nonprofit, said in a statement.

"Chairman [Richard Neal [(D-Mass.)] and the Ways and Means Democrats are to be congratulated for their dogged pursuit of this important information. Now they must share the fruit of their labors with the American people, the final arbiters of what is acceptable behavior by our elected leaders," he said.

Some legal commentators have said that Democrats would be abusing the oversight process by rushing to make private tax returns public without performing a substantial assessment of the presidential audit program that is the ostensible reason for obtaining Trump's returns.

"Any review of the presidential audit program that starts now and ends when the GOP takes control of the House in January would be slapdash and superficial," New York University Law School Professor Daniel Hemel wrote for the website Lawfare earlier this month.

"Neal and the House Ways and Means Committee would undermine their own credibility—and could be seen as hoodwinking the courts and the public—if they proceeded to release the returns outside the context of a comprehensive review of the presidential audit program," he wrote.

Tax experts have expressed doubts about whether the documents obtained by the committee are enough to back up years of investigative reporting that also gained access to Trump's financial records and painted a dismal picture of Trump as a businessman.

"It could be a case of too little too late," Steve Rosenthal, an analyst with the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, said in an interview. "I expect very little, without a fuller probe."

In 2020, The New York Times reported that Trump paid "no income taxes at all in 10 of the previous 15 years - largely because he reported losing much more money than he made." Trump reported a $916 million loss on his 1995 tax return, theoretically allowing him to avoid income tax for nearly 20 years, the paper reported in 2016.

Trump broke with a decades-long precedent in not releasing his tax returns during his presidential campaign, also declining to do so after he assumed office in 2017. While there is no federal law requiring presidents to make their tax returns public, there is a presidential audit policy at the IRS.

The refusal incensed Democrats, who blasted Trump frequently during his presidency over his lack of transparency and in light of his public image as a successful businessperson.

After Democrats won the House in 2018, Neal requested Trump's individual returns and those of eight of his businesses as part of an oversight probe.

Neal told then-IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig in a 2019 letter that the committee needed information on the way the IRS audits U.S. presidents as part of its internal procedures and on how it takes their business dealings into account.

"It is necessary for the Committee to determine the scope of any such examination and whether it includes a review of underlying business activities required to be reported on the individual income tax return," Neal wrote to Rettig.

Tax returns of private individuals are protected under federal law, but a section of the tax code allows the Ways and Means Committee to gain access to private returns for purposes of oversight. By issuing a report to Congress in the fulfillment of its oversight duties, those returns can legally become public.

In July of 2021, the Department of Justice signed off on Neal's request to gain access to Trump's returns, saying the committee "has invoked sufficient reasons for requesting the former President's tax information."


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JBB
Professor Principal
1  seeder  JBB    2 months ago

Good!

 
 
 
Greg Jones
Professor Guide
1.1  Greg Jones  replied to  JBB @1    2 months ago

Good for what reason?

I am sure the IRS has kept a close watch on Trump's tax situation for the past several years and it would be public knowledge already if he was in arrears.

The Dems continue to set precedents that will likely come back someday to haunt them.

Perhaps it might be proper to look into the Biden family's tax records for the past few decades..

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
1.1.1  seeder  JBB  replied to  Greg Jones @1.1    2 months ago

For transparency, Greg, for transparency...

 
 
 
Greg Jones
Professor Guide
1.1.2  Greg Jones  replied to  JBB @1.1.1    2 months ago

I suspect it will turn up nothing other than what we already know.

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Expert
2  Sean Treacy    2 months ago

The Democrats lied to the Court  and Trump was correct again. 

Same ole' same ole. 

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
2.1  seeder  JBB  replied to  Sean Treacy @2    2 months ago

Don't voters deserve to finally see Trump's taxes like he promised we could, after his audit?

Biden's taxes are public going back twenty years!

 
 
 
1stwarrior
Professor Guide
2.1.1  1stwarrior  replied to  JBB @2.1    2 months ago

Are you really friggin' serious????

How 'bout sending me and everyone on NT a copy of your tax returns for the past 20 years.

I'm "asking" under the same authority the CONGRESS is going to use for their illegal action of posting private/personal information to the new media - so my request is just as valid.

When will I receive a copy of your returns?

 
 
 
George
Freshman Guide
2.1.2  George  replied to  1stwarrior @2.1.1    2 months ago

Only here can democrats bold face lie to the court and TDS suffering posters will still try to blame trump.

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
2.1.3  seeder  JBB  replied to  1stwarrior @2.1.1    2 months ago

Sorry, I am not a candidate for President!

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
2.1.4  seeder  JBB  replied to  George @2.1.2    2 months ago

FALSE!

 
 
 
1stwarrior
Professor Guide
2.1.5  1stwarrior  replied to  JBB @2.1.3    2 months ago

Then that makes your tax returns open to the public.

BTW - Presidential candidates are not REQUIRED to furnish copies of their returns as they have already done so to the IRS.

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
2.1.6  seeder  JBB  replied to  1stwarrior @2.1.5    2 months ago

Take it up to Trump's Supreme Court that finally gave Trump's taxes to Congress...

 
 
 
George
Freshman Guide
2.2  George  replied to  Sean Treacy @2    2 months ago

It’s official, integrity and democrat Congress person are no longer able to be used together.

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
2.2.1  seeder  JBB  replied to  George @2.2    2 months ago

If Trump had integrity he'd show his taxes!

He doesn't so Congress is doing it for him.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
3  JohnRussell    2 months ago

I think this may be more trouble than it is worth. They are going to release his returns from the years he was president, which I would guess were the cleanest and most honest of his life. I think the 5 years before he ran for president are likely much more interesting. 

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
3.1  seeder  JBB  replied to  JohnRussell @3    2 months ago

Trump's wealth is sketchy as George Santos'...

 
 
 
1stwarrior
Professor Guide
3.2  1stwarrior  replied to  JohnRussell @3    2 months ago

They are going to release his returns from the years he was president

Not in the seed John, so where'd you get that info?  He was not in office in 2015 and, as you yourself have noted, precedent don't mean crap - 'member saying that numerous times?

 
 

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