‘A Dangerous New Political Weapon’: House Republicans Lay Out Dissent On Democrats Releasing Trump Taxes

Republican members of the House Ways and Means Committee blasted Democratic colleagues for publishing the tax returns of former President Donald Trump.

The powerful body voted along party lines last week to release the tax returns after the Supreme Court spurned the former commander-in-chief’s request to bar the IRS from giving the records to lawmakers. The documents, redacted to withhold sensitive information such as Social Security numbers, cover the years 2015 to 2020 and include both individual and business returns.

A minority report released for the first time on Friday by Republican lawmakers said that the action from their colleagues establishes that lawmakers can release the tax returns of any given private citizen.

“Committee Republicans are concerned that this politically motivated action unleashes a dangerous new political weapon reaching far beyond the former President and overturns decades of privacy protections for average Americans,” the report said. “Going forward, the new precedent is that the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee have nearly unlimited power to target and make public the tax returns of private citizens, political enemies, business or labor leaders, or even Supreme Court justices.”

Trump, who announced a third bid for the White House last month, has also contended that the release of his tax records was politically charged, remarking in a Friday statement that the move will “led to horrible things for so many people.” Presidential candidates generally choose to publicize their tax returns, even though doing so is not a requirement for seeking the office.

“Despite warnings about the long-term negative consequences, Democrats moved forward anyway,” the minority report added. “This development will simply make our politics more divisive and partisan. Even Democrats will come to regret this. And they may regret it sooner than they think.”

The report claimed that Democrats laid out stringent conditions under which Republican staffers could view the tax returns, only permitting them access to the documents in an offsite location during business hours. On the first day Republicans were permitted to conduct their reviews, Democratic officials purportedly failed to properly notify IRS agents of their arrival, leading to significant delays. Republican staffers were allowed to see the completed tax returns, which span more than 6,000 pages, during a six-hour window on December 19 before lawmakers voted on “an unprecedented disclosure of confidential tax information by Congress.”

Democrats, among other abuses, allegedly withheld scheduling information regarding a final business meeting on the tax returns despite numerous requests for details. They ultimately scheduled the meeting five days before the Christmas holiday.

Ways And Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA), who introduced legislation that would require annual audits for the sitting commander-in-chief, insisted that the head of state is “no ordinary taxpayer” and should therefore be subject to different standards. “They hold power and influence unlike any other American. And with great power comes even greater responsibility,” he said in a press release. “Our work has always been to ensure our tax laws are administered fairly and without preference, because at times, even the power of a president can loom too large.”

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