In a two-page letter, Neal writes that he believes his committee has the right to view the president's tax returns and that he is expecting an IRS ruling. in the next 10 days.
"I'm waiting for an answer from the IRS before 23:00, April 23, 2019. Know that if you do not do it, your failure will be interpreted as a refusal of my request," writes Neal.
The letter is very much based on the committee's legal reasoning for returns and Neal writes, "I am aware that concerns have been raised about my request and the authority of the committee." These concerns lack merit. , the case law does not control the concerns raised can legitimately be used to reject the request of the committee. "
Highlighting what he called "the unprecedented nature of this claim," Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin wrote to Neal that he – and not the IRS commissioner – would handle the processing of the request by the Treasury and that the Ministry of Justice was consulted "our response is fully in accordance with the law and the Constitution."
"The Committee's request raises serious questions about the constitutional scope of the congressional investigative power, the legitimacy of the claimed legislative purpose and the constitutional rights of US citizens," wrote Mnuchin. "The legal implications of this claim could affect the protections afforded to all Americans against the political disclosure of personal tax information, regardless of the party in power."
The confrontation between Congress and the administration over the claim should launch an unprecedented legal battle, a battle that will test for the first time in court a tax law of the 1920s that was little known until recently.
According to IRS code 6103, Democrats have the power to request Trump's tax information, including, but not limited to, tax returns. The law stipulates that three persons: the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Chair of the Joint Committee on Taxation and the Speaker of the Senate in charge of Finance may ask anyone for personal tax information. Neal argued that the committee needed Trump's tax information to oversee the presidential audit program, a program not inscribed in the law but become a routine procedure at the IRS from the moment of entry into the law. function of the new president.
This back and forth is only the beginning of a fight that has long been planned to sneak into the courts. Democrats argue that 6,103 claims are made all the time and are processed routinely through the IRS, and not under the supervision of the Secretary of the Treasury.
Republicans rejected Neal's request, deemed unprecedented and political. Mnuchin himself argued that requesting the President's personal tax returns now reaches a level at which he must be involved.