Neal Statement on Requesting President Trump’s Tax Returns
Washington, DC, April 3, 2019
Today, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) issued the following statement after sending a written request to Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner Charles Rettig for six years of President Donald J. Trump’s personal and business tax returns:
“It is critical to ensure the accountability of our government and elected officials. To maintain trust in our democracy, the American people must be assured that their government is operating properly, as laws intend.
“Congress, as a co-equal branch of government, has a duty to conduct oversight of departments and officials. The Ways and Means Committee in particular has a responsibility to conduct oversight of our voluntary Federal tax system and determine how Americans – including those elected to our highest office – are complying with those laws. It is also our duty to evaluate the operation of the Internal Revenue Service in its administration and enforcement of the tax laws.
“The IRS has a policy of auditing the tax returns of all sitting presidents and vice-presidents, yet little is known about the effectiveness of this program. On behalf of the American people, the Ways and Means Committee must determine if that policy is being followed, and, if so, whether these audits are conducted fully and appropriately. In order to fairly make that determination, we must obtain President Trump’s tax returns and review whether the IRS is carrying out its responsibilities. The Committee has a duty to examine whether Congressional action may be needed to require such audits, and to oversee that they are conducted properly.
“I today submitted to IRS Commissioner Rettig my request for six years of the president’s personal tax returns as well as the returns for some of his business entities. We have completed the necessary groundwork for a request of this magnitude and I am certain we are within our legitimate legislative, legal, and oversight rights.
“I take the authority to make this request very seriously, and I approach it with the utmost care and respect. This request is about policy, not politics; my preparations were made on my own track and timeline, entirely independent of other activities in Congress and the Administration. My actions reflect an abiding reverence for our democracy and our institutions, and are in no way based on emotion of the moment or partisanship. I trust that in this spirit, the IRS will comply with Federal law and furnish me with the requested documents in a timely manner.”
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