Congressional Democrats are getting ready to request 10 years of Donald Trump’s tax returns in the next few weeks according to lawmakers and others involved in the discussions. They’re tailoring their request in a way they hope will make it through a court battle, something that is highly likely given Trump’s tendency to challenge decisions against him in court thus far.
The details regarding the massive request are still being worked out, including whether or not it will aim for tax returns related to Trump’s business enterprises in addition to his personal returns. Democrats led by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal along with congressional lawyers are in the advanced stages of preparing the request, though, and are being deliberate so they won’t make a mistake that could jeopardize the investigation.
The Democrats involved in the request for tax returns are relying on a 1924 law giving chairpersons of House and Senate tax-writing committees the ability to demand tax returns from White House officials.
Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. told the Washington Post,
If we had done this a month and a half ago, we would not be prepared, we would be falling on our face, and we’d be looking at the rationale for what we’re doing.”
Pascrell didn’t provide an estimate on when the inquiry could come but says he is advocating for a sweeping request, including both personal and business taxes. Trump’s tax returns could contain critical information for numerous investigations and could be vital to the House Democrats oversight responsibilities.
Trump has allegedly made clear with associates that he has no plans of allowing Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to deliver his personal tax records according to people briefed on the discussions. Despite Trump’s plan to stop Mnuchin in his tracks, the 1924 law doesn’t appear to allow him much flexibility to deny a congressional request.
In the scenario Mnuchin does deny the request, Democrats are likely to attempt to compel Mnuchin to comply by filing a lawsuit in federal court. That process could drag on for more than a year and is likely one of Trump’s legal strategies, especially if he believes the Republicans could take control of the House during the upcoming 2020 elections.
Featured image via DC Tribune gallery