Justice Department says IRS must give Trump’s tax returns to Congress

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Justice Department says IRS must give Trump’s tax returns to Congress
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Justice Department says IRS must give Trump’s tax returns to Congress
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The Justice Department on Friday said the Treasury Department must hand over former President Trump’s tax returns to the House Ways and Means Committee, putting an apparent end to the yearslong battle over the records.

In the 39-page opinion, the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) found that the committee “has invoked sufficient reasons for requesting the former President’s tax information,” and said that “the statute at issue here is unambiguous.”

The decision is a reversal of a 2019 opinion from the same office, which was then under the direction of the Trump administration.

The new opinion states that the previous decision, which concluded the House committee request was “disingenuous,” had failed to take into account that Congress is a co-equal branch to the executive. The office now finds that the previous administration, in denying the request for the tax records, “failed to afford the Committee the respect due to a coordinate branch of government.”

In April 2019, House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal, a Democrat, requested from the Treasury Department Mr. Trump’s individual tax records and those of eight Trump-related businesses for 2013 to 2018 to examine IRS enforcement of tax laws that applied to the president. Then-Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin asked the OLC how to respond.

At that time, the OLC advised Mnuchin that the committee had to “demonstrate a legitimate legislative purpose” for its request, and went on to say that since Treasury had concluded that the committee’s request was a “pretext” and had requested Mr. Trump’s tax records “for the purpose of public release,” the OLC agreed with Treasury that the request was not a legitimate one and banned Treasury from providing House Ways and Means with the tax records.

You can read the rest of Clare Hymes’ article at CBSnews.com

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