Senator Ron Wyden, the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, has threatened to block Treasury Department nominees if President Donald Trump’s tax returns are not released.
“If the Treasury Department refuses to answer our questions, I am prepared to again place a hold on department nominees as I did previously when routine requests for information went unanswered,” Wyden said on Thursday. “Congress needs to take action to force the administration to comply with oversight.”
Earlier this month, the Democratic senator said in a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin that the administration’s response to House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal’s request for Trump’s returns was “wholly unacceptable,” Politico reports.
Wyden also said last week that if the President’s nominee for Treasury undersecretary for international affairs, Brent McIntosh, wanted the post he must be “prepared to thoroughly answer” questions about his role in the department’s refusal to comply with Neal’s request.
The Senator has threatened to also block a number of other nominations, including that of Brian McGuire for assistant secretary for legislative affairs, Michael Faulkender for assistant secretary for economic policy and Brian Callanan for general counsel.
Wyden also said in his letter that he did not recall an instance where “an IRS commissioner failed to provide the requested information promptly and completely, including cases that were politically controversial.”
He stressed that the Finance Committee has made over a dozen requests to IRS for information pertaining to executives at failed energy company Enron as well as to various tea party groups that were seeking tax-exempt status.
“Further, I am not aware of any case in which the IRS or Treasury Department questioned the Chairman’s authority to obtain the requested tax return information,” Wyden added, referring to Mnuchin’s repeated claims that Neale’s request was politically motivated.