Politics: Top 7 Takeaways from House Democrats’ Lawsuit Over Trump’s Tax Returns - PressFrom - US

PoliticsTop 7 Takeaways from House Democrats’ Lawsuit Over Trump’s Tax Returns

00:51  03 july  2019
00:51  03 july  2019 Source:   lawandcrime.com

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The tax returns of Donald Trump have been the subject of controversy for the past several years, particularly over making them public due to his political career.

President Trump on Sunday. Democrats have clamored for Mr. Trump ’ s tax returns since he burst House Democrats are facing resistance on a broad range of investigations that include inquiries into The same dispute is at the center of a pair of lawsuits over subpoenas to accounting and banking

Top 7 Takeaways from House Democrats’ Lawsuit Over Trump’s Tax Returns© Provided by Mediaite, LLC[Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images]

The House Ways and Means Committee just brought the fight over President Donald Trump’s tax returns to federal court. Tuesday, the Committee filed suit against the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) demanding the release of the president’s financial records.

The lawsuit comes just two weeks after the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) published an opinion supporting Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin‘s refusal to hand Trump’s ‘s tax returns over to Congress. Here are some key takeaways from the complaint:

1. The House is using Trump’s own words against him.

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The US House Ways and Means Committee has issued a subpoena for President Donald Trump ’ s tax returns after a prior request under the tax code was Kevin Brady (R-Texas), pleading with Neal earlier on Friday not to issue the subpoena or file a lawsuit because “it has been made clear that this

For Neal, finally requesting Trump ’ s tax returns brings to a close the question that has been looming over him and the committee since Democrats won back the House in November. But the move is certain to ratchet up Democrats ’ battle with Trump , with lawmakers and senior aides privately saying

Pretty clever. Trump (and nearly everyone speaking on his behalf) has often lamented his mistreatment at the hands of, well, everyone. Instead of declaring Trump to be suffering from delusions of persecution, the House played along. It’s Congress’ job to make sure the IRS is doing its job properly, plaintiffs argued, and they need Trump’s tax returns to check that the system isn’t malfunctioning.

The Committee is investigating the IRS’s administration of various tax laws and policies relating to Presidential tax returns and tax law compliance by President Trump, including whether the IRS’s self-imposed policy of annually auditing the returns of sitting Presidents is working properly, even though it has not been updated in decades.

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House Democrats are clamoring to target President Donald Trump ' s tax refunds with new House and Ways Committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., planning to first build a case.

How can House Democrats get Trump ’ s tax returns even if he refuses to release them? The law stipulates the Treasury secretary “shall” turn over “any return or return information” requested by Democrats are prepared for the White House to order Treasury to refuse to release Trump ’ s returns

Perhaps the audit system really is “extremely unfair” as Trump has claimed – or maybe he really is being persecuted for being a Christian:

Candidate Trump stated that he “unfairly get[s] audited,” is “audited when I shouldn’t be audited,” and that, “I tell my people: Why is it that every single year, I’m audited, whereas other people that are very rich, people are never audited[?]”  The reason for the frequent auditing, candidate Trump surmised, is “because of the fact that I’m a strong Christian, and I feel strongly about it and maybe there’s a bias.”

Yes, yes. Best that Congress check all this out, and they’ll be needing Trump’s tax returns to investigate.

2. In addition to focusing on the court of law, Congress is determined to win in the court of public opinion.

The narrative detailed in the complaint is pretty dramatic. Plaintiffs tell the story of unprecedented disobedience by government agencies:

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Trump ' s tax data show bln in losses over decade: NYT. The White House ’s response to the findings has shifted over time. © Mark Makela for The New York Times Newly obtained details from the president’ s tax returns reveal a decade in the red, with .17 billion in business losses.

ALBANY — As the standoff over President Trump ’ s federal tax returns deepens in Washington, New York State lawmakers say they intend to advance a bill On Monday, the Treasury Department denied a request from House Democrats for six years of the president’s federal returns , setting up a likely

Defendants have now—for what the Committee believes is the first time ever— denied a Section 6103(f) request in order to shield President Trump’s tax return information from Congressional scrutiny.

Detailing this “extraordinary attack on the authority of Congress” isn’t all; the Committee also reminded readers that the American people participate in our tax system. The attack on Congress is an attack on us all, they contend.

3. OLC is a big nobody in this equation.

The House was clear on its position: tax returns are Congress’ show.  The OLC is a bit player in this show, and Congress isn’t about to take its word as gospel:

But Defendants, abetted by OLC, gravely misunderstand the operative law: The Committee’s power to conduct oversight and investigations is firmly rooted in Congress’s Article I legislative authority. And courts have long recognized that Congress’s “power of  inquiry—with process to enforce it—is an essential and appropriate auxiliary to the legislative function.” It is not for the Executive or the Judiciary to examine the Committee’s motivations for its oversight inquiries.

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Mr. Trump has refused to release his tax returns , bucking a common practice of presidential Earlier this week, the Treasury Department announced it would not release the tax returns despite a formal request from House Democrats Trump Faces Pressure From N.Y. Lawmakers Over Tax Returns .

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Monday denied a request from House Democrats for access to six years of President Donald Trump ' s personal tax returns .

4. Congress made sure to mention Richard Nixon.

These plaintiffs weren’t about to squander the chance to make an official comparison between the current POTUS and Richard Nixon. The complaint is peppered with references to Nixon and his nefarious misdeeds. And those references aren’t just for analogy or anecdote. Nixon’s wrongdoing is the reason the IRS requires mandatory tax audits for presidents and vice presidents:

This policy was adopted in 1977 in the aftermath of an investigation by the Joint Committee on Internal Revenue Taxation concluded that President Nixon had filed erroneous tax returns while in office. The Joint Committee made these findings despite the fact that President Nixon had been audited by the IRS and even commended by the agency for the care taken in preparing his returns.

5. They’re determined to nip any Deutsche-Bank-style arguments right in the bud.

In lawsuits over other Trump financial disclosures, the president argued that congressional subpoenas were improper because they were not attached to any true legislative purpose. The House’s lawsuit over tax returns, however, bypasses that argument completely. Trump’s tax returns are necessary, it argues, because it’s Congress’s job to take charge of the tax code:

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WASHINGTON — Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has made it official: The administration won’t be turning President Donald Trump ’ s tax returns over to the Democratic -controlled House of Representatives.

House committee chair has authority to demand release but White House has said tax information will not be shared.

The Committee conducts ongoing and robust oversight of all aspects of the IRS and its administration of the tax code. The Committee routinely investigates the operations of the IRS, including collection, auditing, enforcement, taxpayer assistance, and activities during the tax filing season. It also examines the existing tax code and its implementation—including the IRS’s treatment of tax-exempt organizations, the “tax gap” between taxes owed and taxes actually paid, and tax law compliance by individuals and entities—to ensure that federal tax laws are being followed and fairly administered and to identify legislative improvements.

Although Trump’s argument – that Congress can’t do anything not directly related to pending litigation – failed in prior litigation, it has been completely closed out in this complaint. Congress isn’t exercising some derivative investigatory authority. It’s legislating, and this is what legislating looks like.

It remains to be seen, however, if Congress’s arguments will ultimately stand up.

This fight could also drag out for years.

6. Congress called out Treasury for giving Trump special treatment.

According to the complaint, what’s going on with the Trump returns is wholly unprecedented:

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The House ’s top tax writer formally requested President Donald Trump ’ s tax returns on Wednesday, escalating a bid by Democrats to unmask the long-hidden documents that’s likely to ignite a precedent-setting legal showdown between Congress and the administration. Ways and Means Chairman

Trump unsuccessfully sued me in 2006 for libel over a biography I wrote called “ TrumpNation ,” citing unflattering sections of the book that examined his The five categories from Trump ’ s tax returns highlighted by O’Brien are Trump ’ s income (which would let us know whether Trump has a serious

The Committee is not aware of any instance—other than its request for President Trump’s tax return information (see infra II.C.-D.)—in which either Treasury or the IRS has failed to comply with the plain meaning of Section 6103(f) and provide information requested by the Committee.

In the Committee’s experience, Section 6103(f) requests are fulfilled by the IRS as a matter of course.

7. Congress is hoping that the looming 2020 election will convince the court that the need for Trump’s tax docs is urgent.

The House is requesting injunctive relief, which requires a showing of urgency. The next president might be just as unwilling as Trump to turn over financial documents, and this is a problem that needs fixing now:

The need for Defendants’ compliance with the Committee’s Section 6103(f) request and subpoenas is also urgent because much of the tax legislation under consideration would govern the next Presidential election. Multiple pending bills, if enacted, would mandate return disclosures by candidates for office during the fast-approaching 2020 election, and central to the contemplated legislation regarding the Presidential audit procedures set forth in the IRS’s Manual is the question of whether these procedures are sufficient to guarantee effective enforcement of the tax laws on the Chief Executive. By stonewalling the Committee’s information gathering, Defendants therefore are unlawfully impeding a legislative process that must proceed now for it to have its full intended effect.

Committee on Ways and Means v. United States Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service, Steven T. Mnuchin, and Charles P. Rettig, was filed on Tuesday in United States District Court for the District of Columbia.

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Now that Democrats have sued to obtain copies of President Donald Trump’s tax returns, the biggest question is how long it might take until they actually get them. In the complaint that House Democrats filed in federal court last week, they argued that the court needs to move fast because the Ways and Means Committee’s investigation “will necessarily end on January 3, 2021” ― when a new Congress starts after the 2020 election. The lawsuit asks

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