Democratic-led House Ways and Means Committee votes to make Trump taxes public


The Democratic-led House Ways and Means Committee released a report on former President Donald Trump’s taxes on Tuesday after voting to release the former president’s six-year tax returns, the culmination of a years-long quest by House Democrats to get the president’s former taxes.

The panel approved a motion on a party line vote to release the documents to the House, paving the way for the release of Trump’s tax returns within days. The vote passed with all Democrats voting for and all Republicans voting no.

Shortly after the vote, the committee released a report on failures of the presidential audit program as well as a supplemental report from the Joint Committee on Taxation that included details about Trump’s tax filings. Additionally, the panel voted to release all information from Chairman Richard Neal’s request to the IRS, which included Trump’s tax returns from 2015 through 2020.

However, these underlying documents will first have to undergo significant redactions. Neal told reporters on Tuesday he expected the returns to be out in “just a few days.”

The release of Trump’s tax returns marks the conclusion of a nearly four-year legal battle House Democrats waged against the former president after he took control of the House in 2019.

Neal and Democrats said Tuesday that records they obtained showed the presidential audit program did not work as expected. Neal accused the required audit of Trump’s taxes “didn’t happen” because his filings only went through the mandatory audit once, in 2019, after Democrats inquired.

The audit program was important to Democrats because it was the justification they used to get the returns in the first place – but the Democratic lawsuit was also tied in part to long-standing suspicions about Trump’s taxes after would not post his returns while running for president in 2016 or once in office.

The committee also made legislative recommendations to strengthen the presidential audit program, including new requirements “for the mandatory review of the president with timely disclosure of certain audit information and related statements.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Tuesday night that the House will “move quickly” to move the legislation forward, even though Congress is days away from adjourning.

In a separate report, the Joint Committee on Taxation offered a summary of its review of tax returns between 2015 and 2020 for Trump and several of his companies. The JCT noted in its report that it had no investigative powers — it could not demand documents from Trump or his companies or question IRS agents assigned to Trump’s audits — so the committee issued no opinion on whether Trump should have paid more or less in taxes.

Evident in the tax information disaggregated in the Joint Committee on Taxation report on Trump’s 2015-2020 tax returns is Trump’s pattern – as a New York Times investigation has already shown – of generating huge net operating losses and then carry them forward for years afterward for zero on its tax liabilities.

A spokesperson for former President Donald Trump has accused House Democrats of playing politics for deciding to make his tax returns public.

“This unprecedented leak by the Lameduck Democrats is proof that they are playing a political game that they are losing,” Trump spokesman Steven Cheung said.

He added, “If this injustice can happen to President Trump, it can happen to all Americans for no reason.

The Ways and Means Committee report concluded that the IRS failed to audit Trump’s taxes as required by the Mandatory Presidential Audit Program. The report found that Trump had only been audited for one year from 2015 to 2020. “The committee’s investigation found only one mandatory audit had been initiated under the previous administration and the program was dormant at best. “, wrote the committee in its 25-page report released Tuesday after the committee hearing.

Neal also wouldn’t say if he’s seen any red flags in Trump’s taxes — whether on his business or personal filings. “I think we have to leave that to the tax authorities,” he said.

“The research that was done with respect to the mandatory audit program was non-existent,” Neal told reporters after the committee hearing. “I emphasize again that the mandatory program, as underlined by what you will probably get in the next few minutes or so, was almost non-existent.

Rep. Kevin Brady, the committee’s top Republican, attacked Democrats for weaponizing Trump’s financial information. Brady said the committee voted to release Trump’s returns for six years, as well as returns from eight affiliated companies.

“What has become clear is that almost all of these audits that the IRS is doing are not done yet. So any characterization of the returns themselves, you have to recognize, is incomplete at this time,” Brady said.

The much-anticipated meeting, which began publicly but quickly moved into a private, closed-door session, lasted for years but comes as Democrats have just days to decide whether or not to release the state’s tax returns. ‘former president. While there is historical precedent for ways and means to release confidential tax information, a decision to make it public would have intense political fallout, as Trump has already declared he is running for president in 2024.

The committee had access to Trump’s taxes for weeks after winning a protracted legal battle that began in the spring of 2019. Neal requested Trump’s first six tax years as well as tax returns for eight of his companies in April 2019.

Brady of Texas, the top Republican on the panel, told reporters just before Tuesday’s meeting that the release of Trump’s tax returns would be “a dangerous new political weapon that goes far beyond the former president and overthrows decades of privacy protections for average Americans that have existed since the Watergate Reform.

“We are united in our concern that Democrats today may move forward with unprecedented action that will jeopardize the right of every American to be protected from congressional political targeting,” Brady said.

Democrats on the committee are reportedly relying on Section 6103 of the tax code to legally release information about Trump’s taxes, but Republicans are prepared to claim that Democrats are abusing this provision, attacking a political enemy and potentially unleashing a system where even individuals could have their own information exposed if they become the target of the committee.

When Neal requested Trump’s tax information in 2019, he was not the first president to use an arcane section of the tax code known as 6013 to glean confidential tax information. The same law was used repeatedly by Ways and Means Presidents for investigations and the Joint Committee on Taxation also used the law to obtain information on former President Richard Nixon’s taxes in the 1970s.

According to the House Ways and Means Committee, this information was requested and received without a legal fight. Nixon had voluntarily released some of his returns, but JCT requested additional returns using 6103, according to a House Ways and Means Committee memo released earlier this summer. Republicans have also used Law 6103. In 2014, Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp led the committee to release confidential tax information to further the committee’s investigation into whether the IRS had unfairly targeted individuals. conservative organizations when deciding which groups to investigate.

While the New York Times obtained decades of personal tax information from Trump in 2020, Neal’s request could shed light on additional years of Trump’s finances and paint a picture of how the former president used his business entities and his personal wealth in the years before and after becoming President.

Trump broke with tradition in 2016 by refusing to release any of his personal tax returns.

Democrats have long argued that Trump’s taxes could provide the information needed to find out if the president has any entanglements that could impact his decision-making as president. Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee argued in court that they needed Trump’s tax returns to better understand the presidential audit program, which is supposed to regularly check the returns of each new president. and vice-president when elected.

However, Neal didn’t just ask for Trump’s gross tax return. Neal also requested administrative records and documents, items that could include notes from IRS officials or audits of Trump’s statements. The information could paint a picture of the type of review the IRS has conducted on Trump in the past and whether that review changed when he became president.

When the returns are made public, they could shed light on Trump’s actual wealth, how much he gave to charity and how much he paid in taxes. The New York Times report in 2020 made it clear that Trump deferred business losses for years so he could legally avoid paying taxes for many of those years, but Ways and Means will also have access to a few more years of taxes. Trump.


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