What’s up with the fight for Trump’s taxes? AKA what is Chairman Neal waiting for?
Almost exactly a month ago, Steve Mnuchin and the IRS failed to comply with House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal’s subpoena for Trump’s taxes. Since then, nothing has happened.
On May 22, three weeks ago, New York State passed a law that allows the House Ways and Means Committee to request an individual’s state tax returns, including Trump’s. Since then, nothing has happened.
What is Chairman Neal up to? Why the delay?
Neal said he will not seek Trump’s New York state tax returns because he fears doing so would harm a court case for Trump’s federal taxes… a court case that he has not begun. Other House Reps. have spoken out in favor of requesting Trump’s NY state taxes:
- House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters: “Whatever it takes to get it — I’m for it. I believe that the president of the United States should follow the tradition of other presidents and reveal his tax returns.”
- Pramila Jayapal of Washington State, who co-chairs the House Progressive Caucus: “Yes, absolutely, we need to ask [for the New York returns]. We need to know. There is an emoluments clause and a Constitution for a reason.”
So again, I ask, what’s the hold up? Talking Points Memo may have a clue for us:
in recent days I’ve been hearing chatter that Neal is slow rolling the taxes push in the hopes of getting Republican buy-in and Trump’s signature for a retirement bill (the Secure Act) he’s pushing that would allow people to partially convert 401ks into annuities.
It’s been reported that the original delay to even request Trump’s tax returns from the IRS was due to this bill:
[Neal] waited until April 3, months after Democrats regained the chamber, to formally seek President Donald Trump’s tax returns. As Neal resisted pressure from his colleagues to pull the trigger earlier, he was working with Republicans on finishing a retirement security bill that had been several years in the making.
John Marshall (TPM) notes that there is no hard and fast evidence that this is the reason for the delay and, in fact, many legal experts say Neal is right to take his time. However, I think this is important:
Neal is very much playing the standard strategy of raking in huge sums of campaign money from all the special interests that have issues before his committee – which is basically to say everyone in corporate America. So Trump’s taxes almost certainly isn’t his biggest focus. And getting too high profile on it must be in at least some conflict with what he’s really focused on, which is raising campaign dollars and trying to pass some legislation, whether it’s good legislation or bad.
Accessing Trump’s tax returns is important and needs to be a high priority:
With Neal though, I think he needs to be pushed. A lot. Prying open the President’s business interests isn’t just a matter of seeing how much money he makes or seeing how much of his money comes from people in Russia. There’s the much bigger issue of how his business interests are playing into his conduct of the nation’s foreign policy (and domestic policy for that matter) and more generally what if any financial crimes sustain his family enterprise. It’s a big deal and I don’t think it’s Neal’s biggest priority. To make it that he’ll need a lot of pressure from the outside.
So how do we get Neal to get off his ass and start acting? We need to pressure him to make Trump’s taxes his top priority. Here is his contact info.
Page to send an email, but only for residents of his district – 1st congressional district of Massachusetts. So no matter what you do, don’t enter MA zipcodes like 01203, 01220, or 01222. *wink.nudge.cough.*
Call DC office: (202) 225-5601
Call Springfield, MA office: (413) 785-0325
Call Pittsfield, MA office: (413) 442-0946
Alternatively, here’s the contact page for the House Ways and Means Cmte (note no email)
Check thee reddit thread here for options of what to write/say