House Committee To Weigh Making Trump’s Taxes Public

December 20, 2022

The House Ways and Means Committee was set to meet Tuesday to decide whether to publicly release years of former President Trump’s tax returns.

After battling for years, the Supreme Court cleared the way last month for the Treasury Department to send the returns to Congress. The Democratic-led committee received six years of returns from Trump and his business at the end of November. It’s now under pressure to act before majority control shifts to the Republicans on January 3.

Trump broke decades of protocol when he ran for President in 2016 by refusing to release his tax records. Except for Gerald Ford, who released a tax summary, every President since Nixon has released his full tax returns to the public.

During a debate against Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, Trump bragged that he was “smart” for not paying any federal taxes, and later as President, he claimed that he would not personally benefit from the 2017 tax cuts that he had signed into law that favored people with extreme wealth, asking the American public to simply take him at his word.

In October 2018 and September 2020, The New York Times published two separate investigative series based on leaked tax records. The  2018 articles showed that Trump received a current-day equivalent of at least $413 million from his father’s real estate holdings, with much of that money coming from what the Times called “tax dodges” in the 1990s. 

Trump sued the Times and his niece, Mary Trump, in 2021 for providing the records to the Times. In November, Mary Trump asked an appeals court to overturn a judge’s decision to reject her claims that her uncle and two of his siblings defrauded her of millions of dollars in a 2001 family settlement.

The 2020 articles showed that Trump paid just $750 in federal income taxes in 2017 and 2018. Trump paid no income taxes at all in 10 of the past 15 years because he generally lost more money than he made.

And earlier this month, Trump’s real estate company, the Trump Organization, was convicted on tax fraud charges for helping some executives dodge taxes on company-paid perks such as apartments and luxury cars.  The Manhattan District Attorney’s office had obtained copies of Trump’s tax records in February 2021 after a long legal fight that included two trips to the Supreme Court.

Any public release of his tax information now would come as Trump makes a third run for the White House, and during a time in which he’s facing multiple investigations without the immunity from indictment that the Office of the Presidency gave him.

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