Trump Lawyer To Treasury: Reject House Dems’ Tax Return Demand

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 13 : President Donald J. Trump listens during a briefing on drug trafficking at the Southern Border in the Roosevelt Room at the White House on Wednesday, March 13, 2019 in Washington, DC. Pres... WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 13 : President Donald J. Trump listens during a briefing on drug trafficking at the Southern Border in the Roosevelt Room at the White House on Wednesday, March 13, 2019 in Washington, DC. President Trump on Wednesday grounded all Boeing 737 Max 8 planes, effective immediately. The safety of the American people, and all people, is our paramount concern, Trump said, adding that top transportation officials would soon make an announcement regarding the new information and physical evidence that weve received from the site, and other locations, and through a couple of other complaints. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images) MORE LESS

A personal attorney for president Trump urged the Treasury Department to reject a request from House Democrats for six years of Trump’s personal and business tax returns on Friday, saying it raised constitutional concerns.

“If the IRS acquiesces to Chairman Neal’s request, it would set a dangerous precedent,” reads the letter, addressed to Treasury Department General Counsel William McIntosh. “Once this Pandora’s box is opened, the ensuing tit-for-tat will do lasting damage to our nation.”

Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA) requested the returns, as well as IRS work product relating to them, on Wednesday.

The attorney, William Consovoy, argues that Congress has no “legitimate committee purpose” in requesting Trump’s returns.

“His request is a transparent effort by one political party to harass an official from the other party because they dislike his politics and speech,” Consovoy writes in the letter.

Neal has spent months attempting to ground the request in Congressional precedent in advance of litigation anticipated to emerge after the request’s expected refusal, an outcome that appears all the more likely after Consovoy’s letter. Specifically, in the April 3 request to the IRS for Trump’s tax returns, Neal wrote that he was seeking them as part of an effort to oversee the IRS in its job of auditing the president — an inherent conflict of interest in which the agency is obligated to audit its boss.

Consovoy, who also  dismissed Neal’s rational as “pretextual,” calling it “unconstitutional retaliation against the President.”

In 1974, the Joint Committee on Taxation received Richard Nixon’s returns as part of an investigation into whether the IRS was giving the president unwarranted favor in its audits of his returns. Then, the committee found that Nixon owed an additional half a million dollars in back taxes.

Consovoy has served as Trump’s personal attorney before. He also represented Trump in his personal capacity in an emoluments lawsuit brought by the attorneys general for Maryland and D.C.

 

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