The chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee has requested that the IRS hand over President Donald Trump‘s tax returns. The request, which was first reported on Wednesday afternoon, covers the president’s taxes for the last six years and also the taxes of eight of Trump’s business entities.
According to the New York Times, Rep. Richard E. Neal hand delivered the request to the IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig.
In an addendum to the letter delivered by Neal, the purpose specifically mentions not only the tax forms but evidence of any audits.
The purpose given in the addendum reads:
The Committee cannot consider whether legislative changes are necessary without first informing itself. The Committee therefore requires the President’s tax returns and any administrative files (workpapers, audit materials, examiner notes, correspondence, etc.) that reflect how the IRS audits and enforces the Federal tax laws against him.
In a statement to CNN, Neal also called his actions an “abiding reverence for our democracy” and claimed partisanship was not involved.
“My preparations were made on my own track and timeline, entirely independent of other activities in Congress and the administration,” Neal said.
He added: “My actions reflect an abiding reverence for our democracy and our institutions, and are in no way based on emotion of the moment or partisanship. I trust that in this spirit, the IRS will comply with federal law and furnish me with the requested documents in a timely manner.”
Member of the House Ways and Means Committee Dan Kildee also spoke to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer shortly after the news broke about the request to the IRS.
During that conversation, Kildee made it abundantly clear that he believes that requesting Trump’s taxes is well within the rights of the committee and that the committee fully expects the IRS to comply.
“There’s no question the committee has the authority,” Kildee stressed. “It’s been exercised by the committee for many, many years in different circumstances. Obviously in this case since the president has broken from this near 50-year tradition, it’s being exercised in context of the president’s returns but there’s no question it is clear in the law that the chairman of the Ways and Means committee has the authority to seek these from the IRS commissioner and that the IRS commissioner is bound by law to provide them.”
He further noted, “we expect the IRS to comply.”
The IRS has until April 10 to comply with the request, according to CNN.
As the Times noted the request will “almost certainly” prompt a legal challenge from Trump.
This story is developing and we will update as more information becomes available.
[image via Getty Images]
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