Democrats in Congress thought they finally had President Trump and his taxes when a federal judge maintained their right to see the taxes and decided the Treasury Department had to hand them over.
Not so fast, the Justice Department said on Friday.
The new legal decision determined Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin was right to withhold the taxes from the congressional subpoena.
The Western Journal reports the Justice Department did lack a legislative interest in seeing Trump’s taxes, amounting the request to “unprecedented use of the Committee’s authority and raised a serious risk of abuse”:
The House Ways and Means Committee subpoenaed six years of Trump’s tax returns in May, but the Treasury Department refused to provide the documents. At the time, Mnuchin said the request lacked a “legitimate legislative purpose.”
The 33-page opinion from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel argues that the committee’s chairman, Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., wanted to make the president’s tax returns public and because of that plan, the request was not to carry out a legitimate legislative function.
But Neal has said the law is clear the information must be released to Congress, the documents were sought to aid a committee investigation into whether the IRS is doing its job properly to audit a sitting president, and obtaining them would be a “necessary piece” of the committee’s work.
“The Chairman’s request that Treasury turn over the President’s tax returns, for the apparent purpose of making them public, amounted to an unprecedented use of the Committee’s authority and raised a serious risk of abuse,” the opinion said.
Trump Administration: 1, House Dems: 0
Democrats sought Trump’s tax returns under a 1924 law that directs the IRS to furnish such information when requested to the chairs of Congress’ tax-writing committees. Besides Trump, every president since Richard Nixon has made his tax returns public.
Neal said last month that he didn’t plan to hold Mnuchin in contempt, saying the committee may instead pursue a legal fight to force the Treasury Department to turn over the documents.
A spokeswoman for the House Ways and Means Committee said the legal opinion was still being reviewed and declined to comment further.
As the Western Journal reports, the legal opinion comes amid multiple efforts from House Democrats to investigate the president and to seize his tax records.
Most recently, the House Judiciary Committee voted to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt for failing to hand over documents related to the new immigration question on the 2020 census.
Author: Lawrence Richard
Source: Governor Palin: Dems Thought They Finally Had Trump’s Taxes, But The Justice Department Just Wrecked Them