FILE PHOTO: House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal discusses his request to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig for copies of President Donald Trump's tax returns as he talks to reporters at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., April 4, 2019.
Ways and Means Chair Richard Neal sent the IRS a request for Trump tax information on April 3, citing a portion of the IRS Code giving certain committees authority to access "any return or return information".
Neal extended the deadline to April 23 for Rettig to provide the requested information and that failure to comply would be seen as a "denial of my request". "Mnuchin so far has only postponed responding to Democrats' request and said he would confer with the Justice Department, but not yet rejected it", the Post reports.
The letter leans heavily into the committee's legal rational for the returns and Neal writes that, "I am aware that concerns have been raised regarding my request, and the authority of the committee". "Those concerns lack merit".
He also claimed that concerns about what Ways and Means members might do with the requested returns are "baseless", and that "IRS, Treasury, and Justice must assume that the Committee Members, like all government officials, will act properly in the conduct of their official duties".
Neal said Saturday that the administration has no right "to question or second guess" his motivations.
Neal said in his letter that the request is needed to further "legislative proposals and oversight related to our Federal tax laws, including but not limited to, the extent to which the IRS audits and enforces the Federal tax laws against a President". He has asked for six years' worth of the president's personal and business returns.
The Democratic-led Illinois Senate voted 36-19 in favor of a bill allowing the state to block President Trump from the 2020 ballot if he does not release five years of his tax returns.
A lawyer for President Trump likened the request to "harassment".
During the campaign, Trump said he wanted to release his returns but said because he was under a routine audit, "I can't".
Congressional Republicans and Trump's personal attorney, William Consovoy, have argued Democrats' request risks weaponizing the IRS for partisan political gain, with Consovoy calling it a "gross abuse of power".
Hoylman, who represents a Manhattan district, introduced legislation that would allow the New York Department of Taxation and Finance to send Congress state tax returns requested by three Congressional committees for a "specific and legitimate legislative objective".