UPDATE: SINCE THIS STORY WAS ORIGINALLY WRITTEN THE HOUSE WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE HAS VOTED TO RELEASE TRUMPS TAXES.
The House Ways & Means Committee has been engaged in a years-long battle to access some of the records of Donald Trump’s taxes, and last month, the Supreme Court rejected his last-resort effort to keep them hidden.
Maybe that’s why one Republican is now threatening SCOTUS with the release of Justices’ own financial documents.
Kevin Brady (R-TX) posed the possibility as a warning — if a Democrat-controlled Committee can release potentially-damaging information about the former president, then they could do the same to anyone, including private citizens and SCOTUS Justices, he warned.
However, in barely two weeks, the House will be controlled by Republicans, and so any action taken by House Committees in the near future would more likely be by conservatives.
Aside from this, Supreme Court Justices already routinely publicly release their financial disclosures, and it is unlikely the House would waste its time seeking — much less releasing — documents concerning the taxes of random private citizens.
Trump is an exceptional case, not only because of his false promises to release information about his taxes publicly — and the financial fraud allegations that have been leveled against his businesses — but because of his status as a former president.
The Ways & Means Committee specifically sought the documents because the IRS, as a matter of course, audits sitting presidents, and the Committee’s duty includes oversight of whether this program is effective and valuable.
It’s simply not an issue for which the average private citizen’s documentation would be relevant.
The Committee explained back in 2019, while Trump was still in office:
“On behalf of the American people, the Ways and Means Committee must determine if that [IRS] 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 voted on the matter in a closed-door hearing on Tuesday, though they have not yet released their decision publicly, nor stated what the timeline would be if they do decide to make any of Trump’s information public.
However, if they do so, there’s reason to think it will be soon.
“The committee received six years of tax returns for Trump and some of his businesses. And with just two weeks left until Republicans formally take control of the House, Tuesday’s meeting could be the last opportunity for Democrats to disclose whatever information they have gleaned,” PBS reported.
Watch Brady’s warning below:
Kevin Brady (R-TX) warns that releasing Trump’s tax returns could lead to the release of tax returns of Supreme Court Justices pic.twitter.com/ggwOPFKvFj
— Acyn (@Acyn) December 20, 2022
You can view the brief portion of the meeting before it was closed to the public via CSPAN at this link.
If the Committee does decide to make documents public, they have agreed to provide a transcript of this meeting as well.
Steph Bazzle covers politics and theocracy, always aiming for a world free from extremism and authoritarianism. Follow Steph on Twitter @imjustasteph.