In the dispute over the publication of US tax returns Donald Trump threatens another escalation. Finance Minister Steven Mnuchin informed the House Finance and Tax Committee on Wednesday that he could not meet a deadline set by the panel for the day to hand over the statements. Mnuchin also questioned in his letter whether the request of Democratic Committee Chairman Richard Neal was lawful at all. It has been consulted with the Ministry of Justice.
Trump has his tax returns not published yet. Usually, presidential candidates do that during the election campaign. The House of Representatives Democrats formally requested tax returns from Trump and several of its companies for the 2013-2018 tax years last week from the Ministry of Finance-based IRS.
The White House has already rejected the demand. Trump made it clear on Wednesday that he continues to refuse to publish his tax returns. He would not release the declarations as long as they were still under investigation by the tax authorities, the Republican president said.
Critics consider Trump’s argument an excuse. There is no law that states that tax returns can not be issued as long as they are reviewed. Democratic congressman Dan Kildee questioned CNN last week on whether or not to run a tax audit. “He says that. But as we know, the president says many things.”
Mnuchin did not reject the claim of the committee chairman on a flat-rate basis and emphasized that they respect the supervision of the congress. As a minister, however, he had to make sure that taxpayers were protected and laws respected. The legal implications of the requirement “could affect the protection of all Americans against politically motivated disclosures of personal tax information, regardless of which party is in power.”
Trump’s attorney had the Ministry of Finance last week with a similar argument prompted not to give the tax returns of his client. A lawyer’s letter, published by the US media, said Democrats demanded a purely political motive and did not serve a legislative purpose. The Democrats have since January a majority in the House of Representatives. The Senate continues to be dominated by Trump’s Republicans.