Americans for Tax Fairness today urged Congress to obtain President Trump’s personal and business tax returns as part of its impeachment inquiry. Trump has so far resisted attempts by a House committee to turn over his tax returns, saying Congress “has no legitimate legislative purpose” for obtaining the documents.
But an impeachment inquiry gives Congress enhanced investigative powers, and experts say courts are more likely to side with Congress in getting the tax returns as part of its overall impeachment proceedings.
“In order to understand Trump’s many dangerous decisions and motivations, Congress has to follow the money,” said Frank Clemente, executive director of Americans for Tax Fairness. “Whether it’s signing bills such as his tax scam into law or foreign policy actions involving his close ties with foreign powers, such as Russia and Saudi Arabia, some of the answers may be found in his tax returns and financial records.
“Why did Trump withhold funding from Ukraine’s military.” Clemente continued. “Was it to try and hurt his political opponent former Vice President Joe Biden? Or was it because Trump is in Putin’s back pocket – or both? The American people deserve to know.”
Trump has ignored subpoenas and obstructed congressional lawmakers and state prosecutors as they seek to hold him accountable for corruption and potential illegal behavior. He has gone to court to prevent Congress from obtaining his tax returns under a 1924 law that requires the IRS to turn over the president’s returns upon a request from the chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee. The courts have not yet ruled, but an impeachment investigation could break this logjam, Clemente said.
“It’s important to get to the bottom of Trump’s dealings with Ukraine,” he said. “But it’s also important that Congress doesn’t miss the big picture. That includes Trump’s decades of tax dodging, potential money laundering for foreign powers and dozens of instances of obstruction of justice as described in the Mueller Report. And it includes, once and for all, obtaining his tax returns.”
Much of this is detailed in an Americans for Tax Fairness report earlier this year: The Case for Congress Obtaining Trump’s Tax Returns.
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Americans for Tax Fairness