Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin left little doubt Tuesday that the administration will reject a congressional request for President Donald Trump’s tax returns by a self-imposed May 6 target for a “final decision,” setting the stage for a legal battle that will test the limits of congressional oversight.
In a 10-page letter to House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.), who formally requested Trump’s returns on April 3, Mnuchin questioned Neal’s motives and laid out “some of the legal concerns” the administration has with the request.
While Neal has argued that the committee needs to see the returns as part of its oversight of the IRS, Mnuchin wrote that is a “pretext” for the Democrats’ aim to make Trump’s returns public, which Mnuchin called “constitutionally suspect.”
Neal, who had set a 5 p.m. Tuesday deadline for the IRS to turn over the documents, said in a statement that he plans to “consult with counsel about my next steps.” He is likely to subpoena the documents at some point and, given the administration’s resistance to subpoenas issued or threatened by other committees, the dispute is expected to wind up in court.