Tax-Return Fight Tests Mnuchin's Loyalty To Trump

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin faces a challenging test after Democrats formally requested President Trump's tax returns.

Mnuchin has been one of Trump's most loyal Cabinet members, defending the president's policies and personal conduct when others have shied away.

Now as the president's chief line of defense he will have to balance his loyalty to Trump against a request that many experts say leaves him little wiggle room.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) Wednesday evening sent IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig a request for six years' worth of Trump’s personal and business tax returns. Neal made the request under a part of Section 6103 of the federal tax code that states that the Treasury Secretary “shall furnish” tax returns to the chairmen of Congress’s tax committees upon written request, so long as the documents are viewed in a closed session.

Key Republicans are critical of the request. The top Republican on the Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), argued in a letter to Mnuchin Wednesday that the request is “an abuse of the tax-writing committees’ statutory authority,” and he said it weakens Americans’ right to have their personal information kept private.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said Thursday that courts have ruled that congressional requests for information need to have legitimate legislative purposes, and Democrats have fallen short on that front.

Mnuchin has been a fierce Trump loyalist and advocate for his agenda, supporting the president’s positions and controversial comments even when they differ from his own views.

Republican strategists predict that Mnuchin will get involved and that it will be an easy decision for him to reject Democrats’ request.

"You’ve never seen a Cabinet secretary at that level not fight for the administration,” said GOP strategist Ford O’Connell. He predicted that Mnuchin is likely to let the issue end up in the courts.

The pressure from conservatives to defend Trump will likely be intense.

Read more from Naomi Jagoda and Sylvan Lane at The Hill

Do you like this post?

Showing 1 reaction


followed this page 2019-04-05 18:11:59 -0400
Analysis & Political Strategy