President Donald Trump smiles during a meeting with Chilean president Sebastian Pinera, in the Oval Office of the White House, Friday, Sept. 28, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
You didn’t have to be a political whiz or even Larry Sabato to realize this was going to happen. The Democrats and people who might as well be Democrats have been baying for President Trump’s tax returns for three years now. Now, an official request has been made:
The House’s top tax writer formally requested President Donald Trump’s tax returns on Wednesday, escalating a bid by Democrats to unmask the long-hidden documents that’s likely to ignite a precedent-setting legal showdown between Congress and the administration.
Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) asked for six years of Trump’s tax returns, 2013 through 2018, citing an arcane law allowing him to examine anyone’s confidential tax filings. He is asking the administration to turn over the documents by April 10.
Democrats have a long list of questions they hope the documents will help answer, including about potential conflicts of interest, connections to Russia and how much he pays in taxes.
“It is critical to ensure the accountability of our government and elected officials,” said Neal. “To maintain trust in our democracy, the American people must be assured that their government is operating properly, as laws intend.”
To be clear, this committee has no charter to investigate the President for anything that they are interested in. If there are allegations of conflicts of interest (I’m sure these would be well documented in tax returns), there are actual professional organizations that do that kind of thing. The Mueller investigation will have examined Russian business ties (again, I’m sure those would all be scrupulously documented right there in the 1040) and the amount he pays is just not their business.
This is simply an abuse of power by petty little people.
Trump says he’s not interested in playing and it is doubtful that Steve Mnuchin will go along peaceably either. This is headed to court and, in the end, I suspect that a fishing expedition for partisan warfare will not be seen as a legitimate reason for tax returns to be made public.
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