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Administration Turns Back Subpoena for Trump's Tax Returns

House chairman says he's considering his next legal step after Mnuchin's refusal
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted May 17, 2019 5:05 PM CDT
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin testifies Wednesday on Capitol Hill.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

(Newser) – Again saying there's no "legitimate legislative" reason for seeking President Trump's tax returns, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin rejected a House committee's subpoena for the documents on Friday. His letter kicks the issue back to the House, Politico reports, where Democrats will have to decide how to enforce the subpoena. Speaker Nancy Pelosi could have the full House vote to authorize a lawsuit against the administration. A suit probably would originate in federal court in Washington. The administration could appeal a loss to the D.C. Circuit Court, and then, the Supreme Court.

Richard Neal, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, has been seeking Trump’s personal tax records covering six years, as well as those of several of his businesses. A 1924 law permits the heads of congressional tax committees to see anyone's tax information. Neal answered Mnuchin on Friday by saying, per NBC, "The law, by its terms, does not allow for discretion as to whether to comply with a request for tax returns and return information." Neal said he's consulting counsel about how to enforce the subpoena. One option for Democrats, who control the House and its committees, is to vote to hold Mnuchin in criminal contempt; the problem with that step is that it would end up at the Justice Department for prosecution, which seems unlikely with Trump in office. (Read more Trump tax return stories.)

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