Trump's week gets worse after historic House committee vote on his tax returns

Washington DC - The House Ways and Means Committee voted Tuesday along party lines to release former President Donald Trump's tax returns, an unprecedented move that marks the culmination of a years-long legal battle to disclose his financial records.

A House Ways and Means Committee staff member transports boxes of documents after a meeting to discuss former President Donald Trump's tax returns.
A House Ways and Means Committee staff member transports boxes of documents after a meeting to discuss former President Donald Trump's tax returns.  © REUTERS

Unlike other modern presidents, Trump – who announced last month that he would run for president again in 2024 – has refused to release his returns, which would reveal details about the source and size of his wealth, potential financial conflicts and whether he has paid taxes in recent years.

Democrats have argued in court that their interest in seeing Trump's taxes was based on the need to craft legislation and that they would not simply release confidential information to the public. But now they are under pressure to act, since Republicans will take over the House in January.

After meeting privately for more than three hours, Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee outvoted the minority of Republicans who opposed releasing the documents.

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The committee said information such as Social Security numbers and bank account numbers would be redacted.

Trump's terrible week gets worse

Ex-president Donald Trump could be prosecuted for his role in the January 6 attack on the Capitol.
Ex-president Donald Trump could be prosecuted for his role in the January 6 attack on the Capitol.  © REUTERS

"This is not about being punitive. This is not about being malicious," Chairman Richard Neal, a Democrat from Massachusetts, told reporters after the vote.

Exactly when and how Trump's tax information will be released was unclear. It's possible that Trump will return to the courts to block the release.

The tax fight comes amid a rough week for the former president. On Monday, the House panel investigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol unanimously recommended that Trump be prosecuted for insurrection, obstruction of an official proceeding of Congress, knowingly and willfully making materially false statements to the federal government, and conspiracy to defraud the United States.

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After Democrats won control of the House in the 2018 midterms, Neal requested six years of Trump's personal and business tax returns from Charles Rettig, then the commissioner of the IRS.

At the time, Neal argued that the committee had a responsibility to conduct oversight to ensure that even "those elected to our highest office" are in compliance with the nation's laws and a duty to evaluate the IRS' administration and enforcement of tax laws.

A long series of legal battles led to the Supreme Court last month allowing the IRS to release the documents to the committee.

Cover photo: Collage: REUTERS

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