Since his 2016 campaign, Donald Trump has been refusing to disclose his tax returns but the election may have just taken that decision out of his hands. The Democrats regained control of the U.S. House of Representatives and now they may be looking to make good on promises they’ve made to obtain President Trump’s tax returns.
Trump, the first President in recent decades to refuse to disclose his taxes, has been asked repeatedly in recent years to willingly hand over his returns and has then repeatedly said he could not due to an ongoing IRS audit. Although nothing about an audit actually prevents tax return availability, Trump continues to claim that as the reason for his nondisclosure, saying on Wednesday,
“They’re under audit. They have been for a long time. They’re extremely complex. People wouldn’t understand them.”
In the new Democrat controlled House, it is expected to see a fairly obscure federal law, the “committee access” provision as it is known, come into play to bring Trump’s tax returns to center stage. The law says that congressional tax committees have the power to obtain anyone’s tax returns, with or without written consent, saying, “the Secretary [of the Treasury] shall furnish such committee with any return or return information specified in such request.”
That being said, the request will ultimately fall to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Mnuchin is a long time trusted aide to President Trump, although he said an interview earlier this month that he would cooperate to honor any legal requests made by Congress.
With President Trump’s proclivity for pushing back and his reluctance to give such full access, he is likely to drag the request into court but once the returns have made it to Congress, they can be quickly, easily, and legally made available to the public.