Donald Trump’s tax returns will be released by the US Congress

WASHINGTON: US lawmakers voted Tuesday to go public Donald Trump’s tax returnsending a years-long battle by the former president to keep the documents confidential as his troubled financial past continues to stir controversy.
The Republican leader – who is running for the White House again after losing the 2020 election – broke with presidential tradition by refusing to release the files, sparking feverish speculation about what they might contain.
The Democratic-led House Ways and Means Committee voted with the party, 24-16, to release the billionaire’s six-year filings – one of its last moves before the reins were handed to Republicans in January.
Democratic Congressman Lloyd Doggett told CNN that a summary report would be sent to the entire House of Representatives with an analysis of the US Congress Joint Committee on Taxation – with gross returns.
“It can be delayed a few days, just to allow time to write things like social security numbers…that kind of stuff,” he said.
The vote came after committee chairman Richard Neal was granted access to the documents, covering the period 2015-2020, at the end of a long legal battle that went all the way to the Supreme Court.
“It wasn’t about being punitive, it wasn’t about being malicious – and there was no leakage from the committee,” he said after the vote.
Only a small select group of lawmakers saw the returns, which were subject to privacy laws that made it a crime for anyone to divulge details.
The law, however, allows tax lawmakers to review the returns of any U.S. taxpayer.
Trump’s finances have always been of immense interest to the American public, in part because of his efforts to keep them private, and also because of his lavish pre-White House lifestyle in as a real estate magnate.
The returns could show how much he has given to charity, whether he has any foreign business concerns or other conflicts of interest, and how his businesses have been affected by his presidency and the pandemic.
Trump’s family business was convicted of tax evasion earlier this month, in a case that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg called “greed and cheating.”
Trump himself has not been charged, but the company and a separate entity from the Trump family have been found guilty of leading a 13-year scheme to defraud and evade taxes by falsifying business records.
The New York Times published an investigation into Assetin 2020, alleging that he had paid little or no federal income tax for years before he took office.
Democrats jumped on the allegation, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi saying it showed “Trump’s disdain for working American families.”
Trump immediately dismissed the accusations as “completely false news.”
Republicans on the Ways and Means Committee had warned ahead of Tuesday’s vote that releasing the returns could set a precedent eroding the privacy of ordinary Americans and allowing unwarranted investigations of political opponents.
“Democrats will open the door for congressional supporters to have nearly unlimited power to target political enemies by obtaining and releasing their private tax returns,” Republican Kevin Brady said in a statement.
Republicans have argued that the Democrats’ stated purpose of reviewing the returns — to facilitate a review of the Internal Revenue Service’s methods for auditing presidents — is dishonest.
“While Democrats insist this is not political, their eagerness to release the returns through a rushed and sloppy process means their motives are indeed politicized,” they said in a statement. .
All presidents, from Richard Nixon to Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama, have released their full tax returns, except Gerald Ford, who has released a summary.

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