The House Ways and Means Committee voted yesterday to publicly release six years’ worth of Donald Trump’s tax returns, the culmination of a yearslong battle during which the former president defied modern tradition by keeping his finances confidential during his campaign and while in office. It could take a few days before anything is available to the public.
Democrats have said they needed those records to assess an I.R.S. program that audits presidents.
Republicans have insisted that the rationale was a pretext for a politically motivated fishing expedition. Even before the hearing, committee Republicans made their view clear, holding a news conference by a sign that read, “Dangerous new political weapon.”
The chairman of the committee, Rep. Richard Neal, Democrat of Massachusetts, said the decision to release the information “was not about being punitive. This was not about being malicious.” He also praised the panel’s members because there were no leaks of sensitive information.
Two reports will be released later on Tuesday night, committee members said – one from the committee itself and one from the Joint Committee on Taxation, a nonpartisan body that analyzes impacts of tax provisions in legislation. They will include a memo from Neal on the purpose of the original request for Trump’s tax returns, the audit notes and proposals for legislation to codify the presidential audit program into law, committee members said on Tuesday night.