By Frank Miles
Published July 25, 2019
The panel noted that letters from 1973 indicated the IRS turned over Nixon’s tax returns to a congressional committee the same day that lawmakers requested them for review.
“The committee requested six years of President Trump’s tax returns in April under our authority in Section 6103 as well as by subpoena. The IRS has not complied,” the committee chairman, Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., said in a statement. “The committee today submitted materials to the House showing that Section 6103 was used by a tax committee to access President Nixon’s tax returns. The IRS sent those returns the same day. These included tax years prior to those released by the president, as well as the returns of family members.
"It is noted in the materials that these returns were necessary because they were related to later tax years. This is precisely why we requested returns prior to 2017 for President Trump.”
Trump has mentioned IRS audits to justify nondisclosure, but he isn’t legally prevented from releasing returns while under audit. Democrats have argued that they need to review the returns in their search for potential conflicts of interest or corruption.
The top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee, Kevin Brady, R-Texas, took issue with Neal’s maneuvers.
"This is a travesty. After withholding documents in advance and refusing to provide a Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) witness for questioning, Ways and Means Democrats made it clear they will stop at nothing to seize President Trump's tax returns and make them public in violation of the law,” he said in a statement. "As for the documents, they shed no light and have no comparison to Democrats’ illegitimate and unprecedented request.
First, President Nixon voluntarily requested JCT audit his tax returns. Secondly, the Nixon audits occurred before Congress rewrote the law to prevent Congress from seizing individual tax returns for political purposes as House Democrats are desperately trying to do."
Trump’s tax returns have been a source of mystery — and contention — ever since the celebrity businessman broke with tradition and would not release them during his 2016 presidential campaign.
To Democrats intent on obtaining the documents, those records hold the promise of information that Trump has carefully guarded from public view, including about his business entanglements, relationships with foreign creditors and governments, and the value of his assets.
The administration and Trump’s business have repeatedly tried to stall Democrats’ investigations by filing lawsuits and not cooperating. The White House has blocked several current and former officials from testifying and refused to comply with document requests. And Trump has considered invoking executive privilege to stifle a series of probes.
Trump earlier this week sued the House Ways and Means Committee and New York state officials for employing an "unconstitutional" law to obtain his state tax returns, after the Treasury Department's move to block his federal records from release.
The president’s suit comes after Neal earlier this month sued the Trump administration, accusing officials of violating federal law by refusing to comply with the panel's requests and subpoenas for the documents.