The Justice Department on Friday released legal reasons for refusing to give President Trump's tax return to Congress, arguing that Democrat Democrats wanted to publish the documents, which were "not legitimate legislative purposes."
Finance Minister Steven Mnuchin refused to submit documents earlier last month, writing in a letter to the Chair of the Ways and Means House Committee Richard E. Neal (D-Mass.) That the committee's request was "unprecedented" and "could have long-term consequences long for all taxpayers. "After getting legal advice from the Ministry of Justice, Mnuchin said that he had decided the request should be rejected.
Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), Who served on the committee, denied the notion that MPs used a "pretextual" basis – or dubious justification – to demand material.
"This is exactly what 'pretextual' – the President told the Cabinet Secretary to ignore the law to protect it, the Secretary took legal responsibility of the IRS Commissioner to do it, and OLC made a thin, fake excuse that won & # 39;" Don't stand in court, "he wrote on Twitter.
Legal analysts say Mnuchin's decision is a very unusual step, given the language of the law that addresses this issue, and some Democrat Democrats say they hope to take legal action to get a court to intervene. The official Internal Revenue Service memo obtained by The Washington Post said a tax refund must be given to Congress – unless the president confirms executive rights., which he hasn't done in this matter.
The fight over the president's tax records is one of several ongoing battles between Democratic Democrats and the White House regarding access to documents and witnesses, things that seem destined to end in court.
The administration has fought hard against congressional demands for Trump's financial records. Trump sued in an attempt to block the House Oversight Committee from obtaining records from his accounting office, even though a federal judge last month decided against the president. This case is being appealed.
Trump's tax memo is written in part with a view of the expected court fights, and at one point the author, Assistant Attorney General Steven A. Engel, advised the judge to be reluctant to intervene in the dispute.
"Apart from the democratic process, federal courts are not well equipped to guess the actions of the political branch by carefully examining their motivations," Engel wrote in the 33-page memo. "This same limitation does not apply to the Executive Branch, which operates as a check that is politically responsible for the Legislative Branch."
The Cara and Means Committee seeks Trump's tax returns and other business information from 2013 to 2018, relying on laws that say the Ministry of Finance "will provide" tax return information on "written requests" from the panel's chairman. The committee issued a court summons for the record last month.
Individual tax returns are one of the tightly guarded secrets within the US government, in part as a result of 1976 laws designed to curb violations by the Nixon administration, where tax returns were used for political purposes.
The opinion of the Justice Department argues that the committee's request is only partisan politics carried away from Trump's refusal during the 2016 presidential campaign to openly release his tax return. For decades, the main presidential candidate has announced his tax report to the public.
The memo cited statements made by prominent Democrats during the campaign and after Trump became president to debate Democrats were trying to violate important boundaries between the executive and legislative branches for short-term political gain.
"The Chairman's request that the Ministry of Finance hand over the President's tax return, for purposes which clearly make it public, is an unprecedented use of the Committee's authority and increases the risk of serious abuse," Engel wrote in the memo, dated Thursday. . "Congress cannot constitutionally grant the right to force the disclosure of confidential information by an Executive Branch that does not have legitimate legislative objectives."
Engel said that while the executive branch "must respect and respect congressional requests," he does not need to treat them "as unquestioned."
The President, Engel wrote, "stands at the head of an equal branch of government, and he is separately responsible to the people for the loyal performance of his responsibilities. The Treasury thus has the responsibility to confirm itself that the Chair's request serves legitimate legislative purposes. "