The committee’s vote came after chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) started a lengthy court battle in 2019 to review Trump’s tax returns. Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court denied Trump’s request to block an appeals court order ruling that he turn over his tax returns and financial information to the committee, ABC News reported.
Members of the Ways and Means Committee met behind closed doors on Tuesday for more than three hours before ultimately voting along party lines, 24-16, to release Trump’s tax records.
The committee reportedly voted to release the transcript of the closed-door proceedings when appropriate.
The committee did not clarify how and when Trump’s tax records will be released but did announce there will be two days to redact sensitive information before anything is released.
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Trump spokesman Steven Cheung blasted the committee’s decision and accused the Democrats of “playing a political game.”
This unprecedented leak by lameduck Democrats is proof they are playing a political game they are losing. If they are so hell-bent on releasing President Trump’s tax returns–which show he built a very successful business and created numerous lucrative assets throughout his career–they should release the tax returns of Nancy Pelosi and her weirdo husband Paul to see how much dirty money they have made from selling out America and jeopardizing our national security. Alongside their insider trading and shady stock deals, Congress needs to legitimately investigate their self-enriching financial scams. If this injustice can happen to President Trump, it can happen to all Americans without cause.
“This is not about being punitive. This is not about being malicious,” Chairman Neal said after the vote.
However, the top Republican on the committee, Kevin Brady (R-TX), warned about the potential consequences of the committee’s vote and said the committee has unleashed a “dangerous new political weapon” that “jeopardizes the privacy of every American.”
“Ways and Means Democrats are unleashing a dangerous new political weapon that reaches far beyond President Trump, and jeopardizes the privacy of every American,” Brady said in a statement before Tuesday’s vote. Brady added:
Going forward, partisans in Congress have nearly unlimited power to target political enemies by obtaining and making public their private tax returns to embarrass and destroy them. This is not limited to public officials, but can target private citizens, business and labor leaders, and Supreme Court justices.
“The precedent that we set today will have severe consequences for taxpayers in democracy,” Brady said just before the Ways and Means Committee members gathered for discussion.
The Ways and Means Committee’s decision to release Trump’s tax returns comes just weeks before the GOP is set to take over the committee when they gain control of the House majority at the start of the next Congress, on January 3.
Even U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden, who agreed with the committee’s right to review Trump’s tax information, cautioned against public disclosure of the former president’s tax returns.
“Public disclosure of another’s tax returns is a grave offense, and prior committee chairmen have wisely resisted using” the law “to publicize individuals’ returns,” McFadden wrote in December as he dismissed Trump’s lawsuit to prevent the IRS from handing over Trump’s tax records to the House committee.