House Committee Votes to Release Trump’s Tax Returns 

December 20, 2022

The House Ways and Means Committee voted Tuesday to release to the public six years of former President Trump’s tax returns.

After nearly three and a half hours of debate behind closed doors, the committee voted 24 to 16 to approve their release. 

But it could take some time before the details are made available to the public. Committee member Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) told CNN Tuesday evening that release of the full cache of tax documents could be delayed for “a few days” in order to redact personal information like social security numbers.

Trump had stalled for years against their release. However, the Supreme Court cleared the way last month for the Treasury Department to send the returns to Congress. Democrats had said they needed Trump’s records to assess an IRS program that audits Presidents. The Democratic-led Ways and Means Committee soon received six years of returns from Trump and his business. The committee has been under pressure since then to act before majority control of the House shifts to Republicans on January 3.

Trump, who announced last month that he’s running for reelection in 2024, 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 other President since Nixon has released his full tax returns to the public.

It’s unclear, however, that when all the hard data is eventually published of the past six years—which includes Trump’s four-year term as President—how much groundbreaking information will be revealed.

Already there have been several past glimpses into Trump’s taxes. In October 2018 and September 2020, for example, The New York Times published two separate series based on leaked tax records. The 2018 articles showed how Trump received the 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.

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 visits to the Supreme Court.

The Republican Leader of House Ways and Means spoke publicly just ahead of the committee’s vote. Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) said that releasing the former President’s tax releases would raise privacy concerns. He claimed that doing so would give the committee “nearly unlimited power to target and make public the tax returns of private citizens” including business leaders, “political enemies” or “even the returns of Supreme Court Justices themselves.”

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