Steven Mnuchin told a House committee that he only learned this week of an IRS memo that said it was “mandatory” for the Treasury Department to turn over Donald Trump’s tax returns unless executive privilege were to be invoked.
Mnuchin told the House Financial Services Committee Monday that he did not believe the memo contradicts his conclusions that he won’t turn over the tax returns because the House Ways and Means Committee lacks a legitimate legislative purpose.” He even dismissed the memo by saying it was “marked draft, it is not a final memo.”
The law on the disclosure of tax returns requested by Congress, 26 U.S. Code § 6103(f), states:
Upon written request from the chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives, the chairman of the Committee on Finance of the Senate, or the chairman of the Joint Committee on Taxation, the Secretary shall furnish such committee with any return or return information specified in such request, except that any return or return information which can be associated with, or otherwise identify, directly or indirectly, a particular taxpayer shall be furnished to such committee only when sitting in closed executive session unless such taxpayer otherwise consents in writing to such disclosure.
The IRS memo, first reported by the Washington Post, said that the law “does not allow the Secretary to exercise discretion in disclosing the information provided the statutory conditions are met.” It later added, “[T]he Secretary’s obligation to disclose return and return information would not be affected by the failure of a tax writing committee … to state a reason for the request” and the “only basis the agency’s refusal to comply with a committee’s subpoena would be the invocation of the doctrine of executive privilege.”
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) said previously that his committee is “considering legislative proposals and conducting oversight related to our Federal tax laws, including, but not limited to, the extent to which the IRS audits and enforces the Federal tax laws against a President.”
[Image via Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]
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