Democrats Invoke 1924 Law To Get Trump’s Tax Returns

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The mystery behind Trump’s still unreleased tax returns may soon be solved. Whatever it is he’s been hiding since the 2016 elections, where he became the first presidential candidate in modern history to refuse to release his returns, won’t be hidden anymore.

House Democrats on the Ways and Means Committee say they have drafted a letter that will allow them to review ten years of Trump’s returns. A nearly 100-year-old law allows Congressional committees to demand them and possibly make them public.

POLITICO reports that:

‘A 1924 law allows the heads of Congress’s tax committees to examine anyone’s confidential tax filings. Lawmakers can also vote to make those returns publicly available, experts say.’

The demand will be submitted in around two weeks, ending the stand-off by Trump to keep his filings hidden. Several times, Trump has insisted that he cannot release those returns because they are under audit. The IRS confirmed that no one is prevented from making their returns public during an audit, and former Trump lawyer and “fixer” Michael Cohen told Congress during his public hearing that Trump feared releasing them because they might lead to him being audited.

Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) said:

‘We’re almost ready to go…The chairman will be ready in two weeks to send his letter. And I volunteered to deliver it.’

One of the most important aspects of Trump’s tax returns is determining whether or not he has falsely claimed that his properties are worth less than market value in order to avoid paying fair taxes on them. Cohen claimed that Trump would inflate their worth to outlets like Forbes in order to appear wealthier than he is and deflate them on his tax returns.

‘The effort appears to have ramped up in the wake of testimony last week by Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen, as well as by the possibility that special counsel Robert Mueller’s long-anticipated report might soon be released.

‘Cohen told lawmakers last week that Trump has refused to release his returns because he fears public scrutiny will subject him to “taxable consequences.” Trump himself also once expressed surprise at receiving a $10 million tax refund from the IRS, Cohen testified.’

Some committee members insist that limiting the demand for Trump’s returns to only his personal returns and not business filings is insufficient and will not allow Congress to find out everything they need to know, such as whether Trump has business interests with foreign countries that compromise his decision-making while in the White House. Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) is one of them.

‘Because of the intermingling of Trump’s personal business with the public business, it makes it all the more important to get his business returns…don’t limit this to individual returns — they will not provide the answers to most of the questions we have.’

Featured image via Flickr by Gage Skidmore under a Creative Commons license