House Democrats formally requested six years of President Donald Trump’s tax returns, an issue that was the party’s priority ever since it took control of the chamber in January.
The move only intensifies the battle between Democrats and the President, who has refused to keep with tradition and release his tax returns.
The request was made in a letter by Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig, who has an April 10 deadline to meet it.
“The IRS has a policy of auditing the tax returns of all sitting presidents and vice-presidents, yet little is known about the effectiveness of this program,” the Democratic lawmaker said. “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 added that President Trump’s tax returns were necessary to determine whether the policy is being followed and “whether the IRS is carrying out its responsibilities.” He also stressed that it was the committee’s duty to oversee that audits are properly conducted.
According to a document released by Neal’s office, the chairman asked for the tax records from five of Trump’s key businesses as well as those for entities associated with Trump’s golf course in Bedminster, N.J.
Supporters of the move are adamant that it is vital to obtain these records and determine whether the President has any conflicts of interest or is violating the Constitution by receiving payments from foreign states.
They have also pointed out that getting Trump’s tax returns is important as it will show how much he benefitted from the major Republican tax reform law considering that the President has not fully divested from his businesses.
CNN writes that President Trump’s tax returns would likewise prove or disprove his former lawyer’s claim that Trump deflated and inflated the value of his properties and assets in insurance claims and on loan applications in order to get a bigger loan or pay lower taxes.