The committee voted 24-16 to release six years’ worth of Trump’s tax returns to the broader House of Representatives after a closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill. Democrats had made it clear that they wanted to see details of the returns released, although up until Tuesday, it was a question of whether they would release the full returns or offer up details in the form of a summary. The closed-door meeting lasted nearly four and a half hours.
Bank account information, Social Security numbers, and other information will be redacted in the committee report to the House, which will contain not only Trump’s tax returns but also returns from eight business entities affiliated with the former president.
Trump broke tradition by declining to make his tax returns public in 2016 as a presidential candidate, though he was not required by law to do so. Nor did he release his returns as president. As a result, Democrats have been working to dig into the former president’s tax returns for years.
Democrats have been using the legal system to try to obtain the returns for more than three years. Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) had requested the documents under a law that provides the Ways and Means Committee with the authority to obtain taxpayer records.
Trump sought to block the request, but lower courts affirmed that the committee has broad authority to request tax returns. Last month, the Supreme Court, with no listed dissenters, denied Trump’s request for a temporary order that would have prevented the committee from obtaining his tax records.
Republicans have cast the Democratic attempt to reveal details of Trump’s tax returns as a political stunt that sets a new and dangerous precedent. Ranking member Kevin Brady (R-TX) said in a statement before Tuesday’s closed-door meeting that Democrats are unleashing a “political weapon” that “jeopardizes the privacy of every American.”
“Regrettably, the deed is done. What was clear today is that public disclosure of President Trump’s private tax returns has nothing to do with the stated purpose of reviewing the IRS presidential audit process,” Brady said after the Tuesday night vote.
Ahead of the meeting, Trump appeared to accuse congressional Democrats of breaking the law in their effort to make his tax returns public.
“You can’t learn much from tax returns, but it is illegal to release them if they are not yours!” the former president said.