Congress has enjoyed recent victories against Donald Trump in two rulings by federal judges. The fight for Trump’s tax returns now begins in earnest. Given their success in the other cases, members of Congress are ready to take their fight for Trump’s tax returns to the courts.
Tax March is joining the fight for Trump’s tax returns, according to The Hill. Tax March is a group formed and led by working people who believe that the tax system is skewed to favor the super rich. They seek to reform the tax code to close loopholes that favor the rich and corporations to give regular, working Americans a level playing field to success. This organization points out some facts that should be of interest to all of us who aren’t among the wealthy few: “The Trump Tax raises taxes for 92 million middle-class families, rips health care away from 13 million people, and threatens life-saving programs millions of Americans rely on.” Without organizations like Tax March, we would be left to fend for ourselves in a fight we won’t win. That’s why it is important for this organization to join the fight for Trump’s tax returns. As we recently learned, we may even have some inside help.
The Washington Post reported just last week about an IRS draft memo, which details that the Treasury Secretary has no authority to withhold tax returns when Congress requests them. As you might imagine, Steve Mnuchin is fighting this the “Trump way,” once again using their tired old refrain: There’s no legislative purpose in Congress’ request. We all know how well that worked in the courts last week, and it’s certainly not going to hold up in any future proceedings. Trump can try to invoke executive privilege, but that won’t go very far either. According to the National Constitution Center, there are only two instances in which executive privilege may be invoked: “(1) certain national security needs and (2) protecting the privacy of White House deliberations when it is in the public interest to do so.” Well, guess that takes care of that. Neither of these instances apply to Trump withholding his tax returns, so what happens next?
As also recently reported, New York passed legislation that allows Congress to request the state returns of Donald Trump and any other federal, state or local officials. Richard Neal, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, doesn’t believe the state returns help because the federal government has no control over state tax returns. He does concede, however, that the state returns “could provide a baseline for comparison,” but for now, they are proceeding with securing his federal returns. If that means a lawsuit, Chairman Neal said that he’s “always thought that’s where this is going to end up.” The way things have been going for Congress in the courts so far, this might not be a bad thing. Given that, once again, the Constitution does not support Trump’s position, we may just see another notch in the “win” column for Congress.
Shirley is a former entertainment writer and has worked in the legal field for over 25 years