“It’s about damn time,” said Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.), head of the Ways and Means oversight subcommittee.
The Justice Department said Friday that former President Donald Trump’s tax returns should be released to congressional Democrats, though that may not happen soon.
Reversing a legal opinion by the Trump administration, the department said lawmakers are entitled to the information under an arcane law allowing the heads of Congress’s tax committees to examine anyone’s private tax information.
“The Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee has invoked sufficient reasons for requesting the former President’s tax information,” the agency’s office of legal counsel said in a 39-page opinion. “Treasury must furnish the information to the Committee.”
Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.) has said the committee needs the documents to examine how thoroughly the IRS audits presidential tax returns, which the agency routinely does. Republicans argue that Democrats want to comb the returns for things that would embarrass Trump.
Democrats have been suing for the long-hidden documents for more than two years, after the Trump administration said they did not have a legitimate reason for seeking the information.
The opinion comes the same day that Democrats and lawyers for Trump, who’ve been privately conferring for months over the matter, are to brief District Court Judge Trevor McFadden on how they want to proceed with the case.
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