Democrats Demand Trump Tax Returns by April 23

The US House Committee on Ways and Means on Saturday decreed that Trump must hand over six years of business and personal tax returns by April 23rd, or face an as-yet-unnamed punishment, according to reports.

The Democratic-led Illinois Senate voted 36-19 in favor of a bill allowing the state to block President Trump from the 2020 ballot if he does not release five years of his tax returns.

Legal experts say lawmakers could vote to hold administration officials in contempt of Congress, which would provide a basis for the House to ask a federal judge to order the Treasury Department to comply.

"The Committee's request raises serious issues concerning the constitutional scope of Congressional investigative authority, the legitimacy of the asserted legislative objective, and the constitutional rights of American citizens", Mnuchin wrote. Mnuchin is the Cabinet secretary that oversees the IRS. Mnuchin used similar language in a letter to Neal this week.

Calling Neal's new deadline an "arbitrary" date, Mnuchin said the Democrats' request could set "enormous precedent in potentially weaponizing the IRS". "We have people working on it diligently". But he said he has not personally discussed the issue with Attorney General William Barr. By withholding his tax returns, Trump has not followed the standard followed by presidents since Richard Nixon started the practice in 1969.

Mr Trump has claimed previously that he could not to release his tax returns because they were being audited by the IRS. He said that he was under audit and didn't intend to turn anything over until that process had been completed.

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Trump appears prepared to fight this to the Supreme Court.

Neal sent a letter earlier this month to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig asking that the returns be turned over by April 10.

Neal also wrote that concerns about the committee's access to the returns were "baseless". Neal asked for Trump's returns a week ago.

At congressional hearings, Mnuchin accused lawmakers of seeking Trump's returns for political reasons. Some Treasury-watchers observe that Mnuchin's decision to consult with the Justice Department could suggest that Treasury lawyers believe Neal has a legal right to Trump's returns.

In his letter, Consovoy said that Neal "cannot legally request" the information as the tax code guards taxpayer privacy with the exception of certain conditions - which he says are not met.

Trump's acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, has said Democrats will "never" see the returns, "nor should they", and "they know it". But in recent weeks, he has added to the argument, saying publicly and privately that the American people elected him without seeing his taxes and would do so again. "The legal implications of this request could affect protections for all Americans against politically-motivated disclosures of personal tax information, regardless of which party is in power".

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