WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The US Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service were deadline on Tuesday to hand over President Donald Trump's tax return to Congressional Democrats. This resulted in a showdown that could appease the administration and the legislature in a protracted litigation.
FILE PHOTO: US President Donald Trump waves before leaving Wisconsin from the White House in Washington, USA, on October 24, 2018. REUTERS / Cathal McNaughton / File Photo
Representative Richard Neal, Democratic Chairman of The House of Representatives Committee on April 3 demanded Trump's personal and business income on April 3, setting a deadline of 5:00 pm EDT (2100 GMT) On Tuesday, IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig informed in a letter that non-compliance would be considered a rejection.
White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney has vowed that Trump's tax returns would "never" be given to the Democrats. Finance Minister Steven Mnuchin, however, said he intended to "obey the law" while pledging to prevent the IRS from being "armed" for political gains.
As chairman of Ways and Means, Neal is the only legislator in the House of Representatives who is entitled to request information about the taxpayer under federal law stating that the finance minister should "deliver" the data. Democrats say they are confident in enforcing legal disputes over Trump's return.
"The law is on our side. The law is clearer than crystal. They have no choice but to stick to it (it), "said MP Bill Pascrell, who led the Democrats for Trump's tax records, in a statement to Reuters.
The Democrats want Trump's return as part of their investigation into potential conflicts of interest due to his continued ownership of far-reaching business interests, even though he serves as President to the public.
The Republicans have condemned the demand as a political "fishing expedition" of Democrats.
Despite the clarity of the law, Democrats have long ago acknowledged that the effort would likely lead to a lawsuit that could ultimately be settled by the US Supreme Court.
"If the IRS does not comply with the request, it is likely that Chairman Neal will summon the repatriation," said Judy Chu, a Democratic member of the Ways and Means Committee, to Reuters.
"If they do not comply with this subpoena, a lawsuit will begin to defend the right to oversight in Congress," she said.
Trump broke a decades-old precedent when he refused to file his tax returns as a presidential candidate in 2016 or since his election. He could not do this while checking his taxes.
But his former private lawyer, Michael Cohen, told a House panel in February that he does not believe Trump's taxes are being investigated. Cohen said the president feared that releasing his earnings could lead to tax and tax penalties on IRS.
Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Bill Berkrot