14 April, 2019
Earlier this week, Mnuchin wrote to Neal that he would handle the request instead of the IRS commissioner, emphasizing that the request has an "unprecedented nature".
Chairman Neal's Wednesday deadline for the tax returns came and went due to the personal intervention of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, fresh from his viral confrontation with House Financial Services Chair Maxine Waters (D-CA). "Those concerns lack merit".
"It is not the proper function of the IRS, Treasury, or Justice to question or second guess the motivations of the Committee or its reasonable determinations regarding its need for the requested tax returns or return information", Neal wrote.
The increasingly embattled United States president has claimed through spokespeople and through his own tweets that his tax returns can not be released because they are "under audit", although no such legal stipulation exists, according to U.S. tax law, cited by multiple sources.
Donald Trump will have to release five years of tax returns if he wants appear on the IL 2020 presidential ballot, the state's senate has ruled. He said that he was under audit and didn't intend to turn anything over until that process had been completed. The law states that three people: the House Ways and Means chairman, the head of the Joint Committee on Taxation and the Chairman of Senate Finance can ask for anyone's personal tax information for their committee's use.
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Mnuchin said that Treasury Department lawyers have been working "diligently" to research the issues involved and have been in contact with Justice Department attorneys. Bernie Sanders returns to the friendly terrain of Wisconsin on Friday to kick off a swing through pivotal states that are part of the Democratic "blue wall" strategy for 2020.
Trump broke with a decades-old precedent by refusing to release his returns as a presidential candidate in 2016 and continues to do so as president, saying his tax returns are under IRS audit. Neal also could seek the returns through a subpoena.
William Consovoy, whose firm was retained by Trump to represent him on the matter, has written the Treasury's general counsel and said the congressional request "would set a risky precedent" if granted and that the IRS can not legally divulge the information.
In his letter, Consovoy said that Neal "cannot legally request" the information as the tax code guards taxpayer privacy with the exception of certain conditions - which he says are not met.