Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has rejected House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal’s subpoena for six years of President Donald Trump’s personal and business tax returns. Now, Neal will likely turn to the courts, embarking on a lengthy battle that could help define Congress’ powers to oversee the executive branch.
In a letter denying Neal’s subpoena, Mnuchin on Friday doubled down on earlier assertions that Neal did not have a legislative purpose for obtaining the returns. In response to Neal’s earlier requests, Mnuchin has said Democrats merely want to expose Trump’s private information for political purposes.
The New York Times reports:
Mr. Mnuchin was widely expected to ignore the subpoena, as Mr. Trump has vowed to fight all subpoenas from House Democrats. The Treasury secretary has warned that allowing House Democrats to retrieve the president’s tax returns would open the door to lawmakers from both parties politicizing the Internal Revenue Service in the future.
At a Senate hearing this week, Mr. Mnuchin said that House Democrats were trying to “weaponize” the I.R.S.
He said that he had not yet decided how he would respond to the subpoena, but that “you can guess which way we are leaning.” He said that the judiciary, as the third branch of government, would most likely need to settle the dispute between Congress and the executive branch, signaling the potential for a protracted court fight.
JUST IN: Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has defied a subpoena from the House Ways and Means Committee for President Trump's tax returns https://t.co/S0U4OZa71I
— CNN (@CNN) May 17, 2019