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Tipsheet

House Democrats Vote to Release Five Years of Trump's Tax Returns

AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

The House Ways and Means Committee met on Tuesday afternoon to discuss whether the group would release former President Donald Trump's confidential tax returns from 2015 to 2020, records that were protected by section 6103 of the Internal Revenue Code. 

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Citing the still-confidential status of Trump's tax records — received by the Ways and Means Committee from the IRS after the Supreme Court rejected a last-ditch effort by the 45th president to keep his taxes private — the committee went into an executive session, closed to the public, and deliberated for hours. 

Ultimately, the committee voted late Tuesday night along party lines to approve the motion to disclose Trump's tax returns in one final display of partisanship from Democrats whose days with majority power are waning ahead of the new Congress' start in January.

Before the committee went into executive session, Ranking Member Kevin Brady (R-TX) successfully requested unanimous consent to make a transcript of the executive session's proceedings public if or when Trump's taxes are released. Now that the committee has voted to release Trump's filings, Americans will also get a look at which members of the committee were for making the former president's taxes public and who objected to the latest partisan move targeting the former president. 

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Prior to Tuesday's meeting, Brady slammed his Democrat colleagues on the committee for "unleashing a dangerous new political weapon that reaches far beyond President Trump, and jeopardizes the privacy of every American. Going forward, partisans in Congress have nearly unlimited power to target political enemies by obtaining and making public their private tax returns to embarrass and destroy them," Brady warned. "This is not limited to public officials, but can target private citizens, business and labor leaders, and Supreme Court justices."

What's more, Democrats who may claim they needed to release Trump's tax releases as part of some an investigation won't have the power to carry out such an probe come January when Republicans take control of the House and the gavels of committees including Ways and Means. That is, releasing the returns now is merely political retribution aimed at attacking Trump and not necessary to continue probing his finances. 

In previous legal filings, Trump's lawyers argued that Ways and Means Democrats' efforts to obtain his tax returns "has nothing to do with funding or staffing issues at the IRS and everything to do with releasing the President’s tax information to the public." The former president's lawyers continued, warning that the precedent of obtaining and releasing political opponents' taxes "will undermine the separation of powers and render the office of the Presidency vulnerable to invasive information demands from political opponents in the legislative branch."

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According to a dispatch on the Ways and Means Committee's vote from The Associated Press, the "full level of detail that will be revealed is uncertain, but lawmakers said they expect to release six years of tax returns for Trump and eight affiliated company" but that "some sensitive personal information would be redacted" and the returns "may not be released for several more days."

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