Washington, House Democrats have issued Donald Trump’s administration a “hard” deadline of April 23 to turn over the President’s tax returns, pushing back against Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s scepticism over their request for the private records.
Representative Richard E. Neal, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, on Saturday sent a two-page letter to Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner Charles Rettig rebuffing Mnuchin’s statement earlier this week that Treasury would miss House Democrats’ initial April 10 deadline for the returns, reports The Washington Post.
Mnuchin’s concerns “lack merit”, Neal wrote.
“Please know that, if you fail to comply, your failure will be interpreted as a denial of my request,” the Massachusetts Democrat added in the letter.
Mnuchin told the media on Saturday that he was trying to move carefully in overseeing a request that raises “very, very complicated” legal questions, emphasising that his decision could have long-lasting repercussions for future requests by Congress to the IRS.
He said that the Treasury’s legal office has begun meeting with lawyers in the Department of Justice, but that he has not personally spoken with the attorney general about Trump’s taxes.
Earlier this month, Neal wrote to the IRS asking for six years of the President’s personal and business tax returns.
Trump refused to release his tax returns during the presidential campaign, breaking decades of precedent under which candidates for the White House voluntarily released their returns.
He claimed it wouldn’t make sense to release his tax returns while they are under audit.
Congressional Republicans and Trump’s personal attorney, William S. Consovoy, have argued Democrats’ request risks weaponising the IRS for partisan political gain, with Consovoy calling it a “gross abuse of power”.