WASHINGTON – The House Ways and Means Committee is expected to vote Tuesday afternoon on whether to release former President Donald Trump’s tax returns to the public, according to multiple reports.
The meeting comes after the Supreme Court last month allowed the committee access to six years of the former president’s tax records following a yearslong court battle for the records. The committee’s chair, Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., initially asked for the returns in 2019 as part of an investigation into the efficacy of the IRS’s Presidential Audit Program.
Neal last month praised the Supreme Court’s decision.
“We knew the strength of our case, we stayed the course, followed the advice of counsel, and finally, our case has been affirmed by the highest court in the land,” he said. “This rises above politics, and the Committee will now conduct the oversight that we’ve sought for the last three and a half years.”
Attorneys for Trump had argued that the committee was seeking the tax records for purely political reasons and without any legitimate legislative interest. However, lower courts ruled that the committee had broad authority to obtain tax records.
The committee could vote Tuesday to include the records in a report to the House, which would make the documents public, according to the Journal. The tactic is the same one used in 2014, when the then-Republican-led committee released tax information about nonprofit groups to push for the prosecution of the former head of the IRS office overseeing nonprofits, the newspaper reported.
The top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas, on Saturday cautioned that releasing Trump’s tax records “jeopardizes the privacy of every American.”
“Going forward, partisans in Congress have nearly unlimited power to target political enemies by obtaining and making public their private tax returns to embarrass and destroy them,” he said. “This is not limited to public officials, but can target private citizens, business and labor leaders, and Supreme Court justices.”
He urged Democrats to vote against releasing the records.
Trump broke a 40-year tradition when he declined to release his tax returns during the 2016 presidential election. He has consistently resisted efforts to make the records public, claiming while he was in office that he was under audit by the IRS and barred from releasing his tax returns.
The IRS has said that being under audit does not restrict a person from releasing their tax records.
In 2020, The New York Times reported that Trump paid $750 in federal income tax in 2016 and 2017. The newspaper reported that between 2005 and 2020, the former president paid no income taxes because he reported losing far more money than he had made.
In a post Sunday on social media, the former president reiterated claims that releasing his tax records would be against the law.
“You can’t learn much from tax returns, but it is illegal to release them if they are not yours!” he wrote.