Mnuchin rejected the request from House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, a Democrat, saying that it lacks “a legitimate legislative purpose.”
Neal’s request is one of a battery of efforts by Democrats targeting Trump that they initiated after gaining control of the House of Representatives in the 2018 midterm election. Trump refers to these efforts as “presidential harassment.”
Mnuchin’s rejection sets up a potential federal court battle that could drag on for months.
“We are unable to provide the requested information in response to the committee’s subpoena,” Mnuchin wrote in a letter to Neal ahead of his deadline for handing over the tax returns.
Hours prior to the rejection, Neal told reporters he would to turn to the federal courts as a next step, rather than initiating proceedings to find Mnuchin in contempt of Congress.
“We will likely proceed to court as quickly as next week,” Neal said.
After Mnuchin’s formal rejection, Neal issued a statement saying he was “consulting with counsel on how best to enforce the subpoenas moving forward.”
Taxpayers are entitled to keep their tax returns private. Neal’s committee is empowered to request tax returns, but the law requires the committee to cite a valid legislative purpose. read more