The US Department of Justice ordered the Internal Revenue Service on Friday to turn over Donald Trump’s tax returns to a House committee, saying the panel had “invoked sufficient reason” to request them.
The news was a second blow to Trump in a matter of hours, after published notes from the Department of Justice revealed that as part of his campaign to reverse his electoral defeat by Joe Biden, he lobbied senior officials to falsely label the 2020 election as corrupt, and then “leave the rest to me.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi applauded the Justice Department’s order to the IRS to turn over Trump’s tax returns to the Ways and Means committee.
Today, the Biden administration has achieved a victory for the rule of law, as it respects the public interest by complying with the President [Richard] Neal’s request for Donald Trump’s tax returns, ”Pelosi said in a statement.
“Access to former President Trump’s tax returns is a matter of national security. The American people deserve to know the facts of their troubling conflicts of interest and the undermining of our security and democracy as president. “
Presidential candidates traditionally disclose their tax returns, although they are not legally required to do so. Trump kept his out of public view when he ran for the White House in 2016, saying they were under IRS audit and that he did not release them while in office.
Once Democrats took control of the House in 2018, amid the investigation of Russian election interference and ties between Trump and Moscow by special counsel Robert Mueller, they began searching the records in court.
Trump fought hard to keep his tax returns out of the public eye, but the New York Times got some of the records, which showed that Trump paid next to nothing in federal income taxes in the years before he entered the White House.
In a memo on Friday, the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel said Neal, the Massachusetts congressman who chairs the ways and means committee, had “invoked sufficient reason to request the former president’s tax information.”
Under federal law, the OLC said, the Treasury Department “must provide the information to the committee.”
The 39-page memo was signed by Dawn Johnsen, installed by the Biden administration as acting director of the OLC.
Trump’s Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he would not release Trump’s tax returns because they were seeking them for partisan reasons.
The House Ways and Means committee filed a lawsuit over the records under a federal law that says the IRS will “turn over” any taxpayer’s returns to a handful of top legislators. The committee said it needed Trump’s taxes for an investigation into whether he was complying with the tax law.
Trump’s Justice Department defended Mnuchin’s refusal and Trump intervened to try to prevent the materials from being turned over to Congress. According to a January court order, Trump would have 72 hours to object after the Biden administration formally changes the government’s position on the lawsuit.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr obtained copies of Trump’s personal and business tax records as part of a criminal investigation.
Trump tried to prevent his accountants from turning over the documents, taking the matter to the supreme court. The justices rejected Trump’s argument that he had broad immunity as president.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism