Congress Says It Needs Trump’s Tax Returns to Ensure They’re Being Audited Properly. Really?

Ron Sachs/CNP via ZUMA

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Richard Neal, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, has asked the IRS to turn over six years of President Trump’s tax returns. What took him so long?

Mr. Neal said throughout that he was chiefly concerned with crafting a request, alongside the House general counsel and the Ways and Means Committee staff, that could withstand legal challenge. “I am certain we are within our legitimate legislative, legal and oversight rights,” he said on Wednesday.

Hmmm. Here’s the part of the letter that justifies the request:

So weeks of review with his legal staff has produced this? A letter saying they need Trump’s tax returns in order to conduct oversight on whether the IRS is properly auditing them? And for this they need not just his tax returns since 2017, but also for the four years before he was president?

It may turn out that the statutory authority of Congress to request tax returns is so absolute that none of this matters. But just in case it’s not, this sure seems like a mighty flimsy excuse. It’s true that no one on the Ways and Means Committee has ever publicly stated a different reason (i.e., “we’re gonna get the son of a bitch” or something similar), a habit that has produced several losses for Trump in federal courts. Still, couldn’t they have come up with something better? This strikes me as pretty thin.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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