Democrats will seek President Donald Trump’s tax returns when they take over the House of Representatives in January. Though no date has been set for a formal request for the returns, Democrats are planning carefully and appear determined to see Trump’s taxes.
The effort will center on the House Ways and Means Committee, which will be chaired by Democrat Richard Neal. Neal will be the only Democrat with the power to obtain Trump’s tax returns. It is believed that he will formally request the tax returns from the Treasury Department.
But Democrats are going further in their planning. Trump will resist every attempt to see his tax returns, perhaps even fighting Democrats in court. House Democrats intend to argue that it is essential to see his returns in order to gauge his interests – an ever more urgent matter given the growing investigations into Trump.
The Democrats are expected to introduce a bill that would require a president to divulge three years worth of tax returns. This bill would be examined by Ways and Means and could give the committee the opportunity to formally justify their demand for Trump’s returns.
Trump refused to release his tax returns during the 2016 presidential election. Every presidential candidate since Richard Nixon has released their returns. Trump claimed that they could not be released because they are under audit, but this is not the case. Tax returns under audit can be and have been publicly released.
Trump’s tax returns are widely expected to show unpalatable truths about his business dealings, following a major report into how his family effectively avoided taxes on millions of dollars, among other questionable business practices. Obtaining Trump’s tax returns could open him up to further investigations by the House.