In an appearance on Fox & Friends, Judge Andrew Napolitano said that Congress could legally obtain President Donald Trump’s tax returns for the last six years, per Fox News. He also said that — thanks to a legal loophole — the tax returns can be released to the public.
Although the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is typically required to keep tax returns confidential, Napolitano said that the Chair of the House Committee on Ways and Means could force the agency to release anyone’s tax returns for any period of time, even without a valid reason.
“I honestly didn’t know this statute existed because it’s an obscure statute. The Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, and/or the chair of the Senate Finance committee, can ask for anybody’s tax returns, and the secretary, meaning the secretary of the treasury for whom the IRS works, shall furnish them. They don’t have to give a reason.”
And while the statute requires confidentiality for tax records, Napolitano said that Congress could reveal the documents to the public with immunity in certain situations. He claims that if the tax returns make it to House Ways and Means Committee and into the hands of any member of Congress, the individual can bring them to the House of Representatives and make them public.
— The Hill (@thehill) April 4, 2019
But just because they can go to the floor doesn’t mean that the records will be released — Napolitano said that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin would likely refuse to release the returns to keep them hidden from Democratic lawmakers. He suggested that this could lead to a court battle and that the issue of Trump’s tax returns could take months to years to resolve.
“Mnuchin is not going to release it voluntarily, even though the statute says that he must.”
As The Inquisitr reported, an accounting firm that helped prepare Trump’s tax returns claims that it is willing to provide more than 10 years’ worth of documents to the office of the House Oversight Committee’s chair, Maryland Democrat Elijah Cummings. Cummings began his fight to obtain Trump’s tax returns after the president’s former lawyer Michael Cohen cast doubt on Trump’s “audit” claim during his testimony to the committee in February.
On Wednesday, House Democrats formally requested six years of Donald Trump’s tax returns, although Trump doesn’t seem to be phased and brushed off the news when he spoke to reporters in the Cabinet Room, per The Inquisitr.
“Is that all? Usually it’s 10 so I guess they’re giving up.”