The chairman of the committee Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA) and Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) speak during a meeting of the House Ways and Means Committee on Capitol Hill on December 20, 2022 in Washington, DC.
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The House Ways and Means Committee voted Tuesday evening to publicly release a version of the federal tax returns issued by former President Donald Trump while he was running and serving in the White House.
It will take “a few days” to clear sensitive information before Trump’s returns and those of eight Trump-related companies are released, Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., chairman of the committee.
“But we believe it’s just a day,” Neal said.
Records designated for publication include IRS audit notes on returns.
A 29-page report related to Trump’s taxes was released on Tuesday evening.
A 24-16 vote by the Democratic-controlled committee to approve the release of the returns and reports followed party lines. Before the vote, the board spent more than four hours in executive session discussing whether to make the tax returns public and how to release them.
The committee received the tax records — which span from 2015 to 2020 — last month from the Internal Revenue Service after a three-year battle to get them over objections. Trump.
Neal previously said the sitting president’s annual tax returns will be used to evaluate how the Internal Revenue Service is doing.
Trump broke decades of political precedent by refusing to release his tax returns to the public as a candidate and as president.
The New York Times reported in 2020 that billionaire real estate agents paid just $750 in federal taxes in 2016, and that same amount the following year. Trump paid no income taxes in 11 of the 18 years the Times reviewed after obtaining the tax records.
Tuesday’s vote was the latest in a series of negative developments for Trump, who announced last month that he would seek the Republican nomination for president in 2024.
On Monday, a select committee voted unanimously to refer Trump to a criminal investigation and possible prosecution at the Department of Justice over his efforts to reverse his election loss. in 2020 against President Joe Biden, which included pressure on then-Vice President Mike Pence to refuse to confirm. lists of Electoral Colleges in many states.
After Tuesday’s vote, Neal said lawmakers have two days to file additional information or rebuttals to the panel’s report on the returns.
“After a long process, there was no punishment, no wrongdoing, and no exit from the committee,” Neal said. “We followed the law very well.”
The committee chairman also said that “the staff was authorized to make technical corrections to the report and to remove potentially sensitive information, such as social security numbers, street addresses, etc. , their identification number and bank information.”
Neal advised members of Congress to adhere to the First Amendment clause and debate in the debate on Trump’s return to the people.
This clause protects lawmakers from being sued or arrested for what they say during a legislative, but not necessarily political, event.
“Today the committee voted to support sunshine and democracy,” said Rep. Bill Pascrell, the New Jersey Democrat who chairs the Subcommittee on Oversight, said in a statement.
“For six long years we’ve been fighting to release these documents because the American people deserve to know if the chief executive is gone,” Neal said. “But today’s victory is greater than a bad person or a party.” Victory for [the] idea that no one is above the law.”
Police officers delivered documents believed to be Trump’s tax returns shortly before the hearing began at 3 p.m.
The committee’s ranking Republican member, Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas, warned against releasing the reports before Tuesday’s hearing.
“I’ll make it clear that the president should not have publicly announced his tax returns as usual, or the accuracy of his taxes,” said Brady to reporters. “That’s for the IRS and the taxpayer to determine.”
“Our concern is that, if adopted, this committee action will set a terrible precedent that unleashes a dangerous new political weapon that goes far beyond previous presidents and reverses the privacy protections for average Americans that have existed since the Watergate reform,” Brady said. .
The document comes as the House Ways & Means Committee held a hearing on former President Donald Trump’s tax returns on Capitol Hill in Washington on Tuesday, December 20, 2022.
Andrew Harnick | AP
The committee’s first effort to obtain Trump’s tax returns from the IRS was rejected by the Treasury Department in 2019, led by then-designate Steven Mnuchin. Trump at the time. The Treasury Department, which oversees the IRS, said there was no legal basis for the request.
The Treasury dropped its opposition to releasing the returns after Biden, a Democrat, took over.
Trump sued to block their release.
But that effort was lost in the federal courts and the Supreme Court. Last month, the Supreme Court, three of the justices he appointed, rejected his latest proposal to prevent the IRS from giving the committee the means and methods of recording its taxes.
Tuesday’s House Rules and Procedures Committee hearing is less than a month away before Republicans take control of the House majority. GOP lawmakers are expected to cancel the committee’s investigation into Trump’s tax returns.
“What is clear today is that the public release of President Trump’s private tax returns has nothing to do with the stated goal of revising the IRS presidential audit process,” Brady said. after the vote.