Washington —Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen should and legally must fulfill Congress’s request for six years of President Trump’s personal and business tax returns, according to a letter sent today by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, Constitutional Accountability Center, Free Speech For People, Government Accountability Project, Project On Government Oversight, Protect Democracy, Public Citizen, Revolving Door Project, and Stand Up America.
Representative Richard Neal, the Chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives, first made the request for President Trump’s tax returns on April 3, 2019 to then-Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Even though the Tax Code requires the agency to share information so requested by the Chair of Ways and Means, Mnuchin ignored the request and failed to provide a legitimate reason to withhold Trump’s tax return materials. Yellen should turn over the tax returns to Congress as concerns mount about Trump receiving unconstitutional emoluments when foreign and domestic governments patronized his hotels and resorts and about his decades-long tax avoidance schemes.
“Our constitutional system of checks and balances does not work if the executive branch ignores Congress’s right to conduct oversight and deprives it of the information it needs to legislate,” reads the letter. “Examination of President Trump’s tax materials will inform Congress as it assesses the need for, and considers establishing, new protections against presidential corruption.”
In response to a CREW FOIA request, IRS attorneys admitted that Mnuchin’s decision to block the release of Trump’s tax returns was the first time the IRS ever failed to turn over requested tax returns to Congress. Sharing a president’s tax information is not unprecedented. In 1974, the Ways and Means Committee requested and obtained tax materials pertaining to President Richard Nixon.
“Secretary Mnuchin’s unprecedented decision to withhold President Trump’s tax returns from Congress inappropriately and illegally helped protect Trump from congressional scrutiny and accountability,” said CREW President Noah Bookbinder. “Secretary Yellen should honor and uphold the law by reversing the previous administration’s decision and releasing Trump’s tax returns to Congress.”