By CASEY HARPER
THE CENTER SQUARE
(The Center Square) – Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee voted Tuesday to release copies of former President Donald Trump’s tax returns.
They also released the results of an investigation into the Internal Revenue Service, arguing the federal tax-collecting agency was not stringent enough on the incumbent president. Democrats say the IRS failed to follow a standing policy to look into sitting presidents’ filings until the lawmakers began looking into it.
“The Committee expected that these mandatory audits were being conducted promptly and in accordance with IRS policies,” U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., said during the committee hearing. “However, our review found that under the prior Administration the program was dormant. We know now, the first mandatory audit was opened two years into his presidency. On the same day this Committee requested his returns.”
Rep. Neal blasted the IRS, calling it a “major failure” and arguing Congress must “step in” with legislation that ensures the IRS “conducts yearly, timely examinations while publicly disclosing certain information.”
“We anticipated the IRS would expand the mandatory audit program to account for the complex nature of the former president’s financial situation yet found no evidence of that,” Rep. Neal said. “This is a major failure of the IRS under the prior administration, and certainly not what we had hope to find.”
Documents released by the committee showed that Mr. Trump made millions but was able to claim significant losses to offset his tax burden, a common practice for the wealthy and businesses.
Some on the right argued the effort was politically motivated and that there was a double standard, pointing to the lack of accountability so far on issues like Hunter Biden’s laptop.
Mr. Trump has repeatedly defended himself and deflected questions about his tax returns, saying he could not release his records because he was under audit.
“The highly partisan Unselect Committee is illegally leaking confidential info to anyone that will listen,” Mr. Trump wrote on TruthSocial over the weekend. “Adam ‘Shifty’ Schiff is all over T.V. talking about Criminal Referrals, just like he was on the Russia, Russia, Russia Hoax, which turned out to be the con of the century. How much longer are Republicans, and American Patriots in general, going to allow this to happen.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who recently announced she is stepping down from the leadership position, lauded the committee’s work, saying it has “revealed the urgent need for legislation to ensure the public can trust in real accountability and transparency during the audit of a sitting president’s tax returns – not only in the case of President Trump, but for any president.”