Neal has yet to re­lease tax re­turns

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics - BY DAVID SHERFINSKI AND STEPHEN DINAN

The Demo­cratic chair­man who’s de­mand­ing to see Pres­i­dent Trump’s tax re­turns says he’d have no prob­lem re­leas­ing his own re­turns — later.

“Oh, sure — down the road, sure, that’s noth­ing,” Rep. Richard Neal said when asked if he would com­mit to re­leas­ing some of his per­sonal re­turns. “I’ve done that in the past, by the way.”

Mr. Neal’s of­fice didn’t re­spond to a ques­tion about when that might have been, and a Roll Call sur­vey in 2017 found no record of a pre­vi­ous re­lease of his tax re­turns.

New Eng­land Pub­lic Ra­dio also tried to pry loose his tax re­turns in 2017, ask­ing five sep­a­rate times for copies. The con­gress­man re­buffed each re­quest.

“I think we should all jump to­gether,” the Mas­sachusetts Demo­crat told NEPR at the time, sug­gest­ing some fu­ture re­lease date might be ap­pro­pri­ate. “I think that’s the best way to ap­proach it.”

Mr. Neal is now chair­man of the Ways and Means Com­mit­tee, which makes him the top tax law writer in the coun­try, since all tax rev­enue bills must start with him.

He flexed that po­si­tion last week by send­ing a let­ter to the IRS de­mand­ing to see six years of Mr. Trump’s re­turns, any in­for­ma­tion on au­dits he’s faced, and sim­i­lar in­for­ma­tion for eight of his af­fil­i­ated or­ga­ni­za­tions.

As chair­man, he is en­ti­tled to de­mand the in­for­ma­tion un­der Sec­tion 6103 of the tax code.

Mr. Trump said he will re­sist com­pli­ance.

“Un­til such time as I’m not un­der au­dit, I would not be in­clined to do that,” he told re­porters.

Mr. Neal said being un­der an au­dit doesn’t cut it as an ex­cuse.

“The ar­gu­ment we have here is that the pro­fes­sional staff and the at­tor­neys say that you could still sub­mit your tax forms even if you’re un­der au­dit,” he said.

He said he wants to get the in­for­ma­tion to re­view how the IRS han­dles au­dits of pres­i­dents’ taxes.

“We pointed out that this was about pol­icy,” Mr. Neal said.

Mr. Neal said he won’t in­struct his fel­low Ways and Means mem­bers to re­veal their own taxes, say­ing that’s their de­ci­sion.

“They can do what they want to do,” he said. “This is about the in­sti­tu­tion of the pres­i­dency.”

But making the re­quest was seen as a hard­ball po­lit­i­cal tac­tic, and some Democrats made clear they ex­pect to find em­bar­rass­ing in­for­ma­tion in the re­turns.


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