House Committee Sues the President for Rejecting Tax Return Requests

House Committee

In order to have access to the President’s tax returns, Ways and Means, one of the most powerful House committees, on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against Donald Trump in a federal court, setting up a legal confrontation against the Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service.

The Ways and Means, a chief-tax writing committee, is solely responsible for looking over taxation, tariffs and revenue raising measures that affect the social security and employment rates in the country. As per the constitution, all the bills regarding taxation must pass through this committee.

In April, Chairman of the Committee Richard Neal expressed his desire to request the tax returns of President Trump, which was rejected by the administration. The House committee thereby filed a lawsuit against the administration, accusing them for covering the President’s tax return information from “Congressional scrutiny”. Not only did the latter refuse to turn over the documents, but also challenged a subpoena against the committee for the required documents.

The House committee said that there was no need for them to explain the reasons for getting Trump’s tax return data to the Treasury Department. They called it their duty to keep a check on the issues and appealed to the court to order the Trump administration to turn over the documents.  

The filed lawsuit suggested that without analyzing the requested return materials, the House Committee could not ensure whether the audit process of the Internal Revenue System were properly functioning and this would further create difficulties in understanding the tax code provisions that have been impacted by Trump’s returns.

Despite the given arguments, the move by the House Committee was highly criticized by the Republicans. White House deputy press secretary Steven Groves, also a Special Assistant to the President, condemned the committee for their ulterior motives.

Groves even accused the Democrats, who had previously wished to know the President’s tax returns, for “presidential harassment”, saying “The only thing more political than the Committee’s crusade for the President’s tax returns is its sham lawsuit.”

Though the lawsuit is a long-going fight between the Democrats and the President over the returns, it remains unclear how long it will take to resolve the issue. While some support the Treasury Department, claiming that they are not authorized to disclose the requested return and related information to the House Committee, there are many others who call it a necessary move to keep a check on the government in power. 

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