WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said the request House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., made to the IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig for President Donald Trump’s tax returns “doesn’t make a lot of sense.”
Neal sent his letter to Rettig on Wednesday asking for six years of President Trump’s personal and business tax returns.
“It is critical to ensure the accountability of our government and elected officials. To maintain trust in our democracy, the American people must be assured that their government is operating properly, as laws intend,” Neal said in a released statement about his letter.
“Congress, as a co-equal branch of government, has a duty to conduct oversight of departments and officials. The Ways and Means Committee has a responsibility to conduct oversight of our voluntary Federal tax system and determine how Americans – including those elected to our highest office – are complying with those laws. It is also our duty to evaluate the operation of the Internal Revenue Service in its administration and enforcement of the tax laws, he said.
“The IRS has a policy of auditing the tax returns of all sitting presidents and vice-presidents, yet little is known about the effectiveness of this program. On behalf of the American people, the Ways and Means Committee must determine if that policy is being followed, and, if so, whether these audits are conducted fully and appropriately. In order to fairly make that determination, we must obtain President Trump’s tax returns and review whether the IRS is carrying out its responsibilities. The Committee has a duty to examine whether Congressional action may be needed to require such audits, and to oversee that they are conducted properly,” Neal added.
Grassley stated the Democrat call for Trump’s tax returns was not what the framers had in mind.
“I don’t believe for a minute that when the Framers created Article I, what they had in mind was members using those powers to collect personal information on their political opponents in an effort to destroy them,” Grassley said on the U.S. Senate floor.
“You know, in all my years of conducting oversight, I have never started with an end result and then worked backward in search of a reason for making it happen. That’s not how oversight is done,” he stated. “Oversight is about advocating for transparency and accountability in order to fix problems and improve government, not about searching for ways to sow division and tear down your political opponents.”
“When you strip out all their pretexts, and when you strip out their circular logic, all you have are Democrats who want to go after the President any way they can. They dislike him with a passion, and they want his tax returns to destroy him,” Grassley added.
He called their request “Nixonian to the core.”
Watch his remarks below:
Read Neal’s letter below: