On Friday, the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice released a formal conclusion that the personal tax returns of former President Donald Trump should be provided to the House Ways and Means Committee. The chairperson of that committee, Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), had sought the documents as part of an effort to enact legislative safeguards against Trump-style corruption, and the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel concluded that Neal’s request did, in fact, reflect a “legitimate legislative purpose,” clearing the way for transferring the materials to Congress. After the revelation of the Justice Department office’s decision, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) spoke out to laud the development.
There’s a federal statute that allows for chairpersons of certain Congressional committees to obtain the tax records for individual Americans, and the Justice Department office in question found that Trump was not exempt, even if other, un-related exemptions may exist. Pelosi commented as follows:
‘The Biden Admin has delivered a victory for the rule of law as it respects the public interest by complying w/ Chairman Neal’s request for Donald Trump’s tax returns. I applaud Chairman Neal for his dignified pursuit of the truth & the Biden Admin DOJ for its respect for the law. Access to former President Trump’s tax returns is a matter of national security. The American people deserve to know the facts of his conflicts of interest and undermining of our security and democracy as president. The House will always fight to expose the truth #ForThePeople.’
Access to former President Trump’s tax returns is a matter of national security. The American people deserve to know the facts of his conflicts of interest and undermining of our security and democracy as president.
The House will always fight to expose the truth #ForThePeople.
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) July 30, 2021
While in office as president, Trump never financially disconnected himself from his business, allowing patrons of his businesses to essentially financially support the then-president of the United States — and potentially garner positive attention from him in the process. In addition, Trump’s many overseas business moves provided an avenue for potential serious conflicts of interest to affect the presidency. There’s another related issue, too — while in office, Trump’s business brought in at least $2.5 million in taxpayer money through charges including those imposed on the Secret Service for protecting the then-president during his many visits to his own properties. Among other things, the Trump company also charged the government in connection with hosting summits with foreign leaders that Trump opted to hold at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.