Democrats on the House Ways & Means Committee late Tuesday night announced the release of six years of former President Donald Trump’s tax returns.
The committee voted 24-16 to release the information. Committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., said ‘every effort’ would be made to remove certain personal information from the information that is released, and it was not immediately clear how long that would take.
The committee will technically be releasing a report on Trump’s taxes. The top Republican on the committee, Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas, said the information in the report includes six years of Trump’s tax returns, the returns of eight ‘affiliated businesses,’ and related audit notes.
Brady indicated that he was also unclear when the information might be released.
The committee won the right to access Trump’s financial data late last month, after the Supreme Court ordered the Treasury Department to make the documents accessible. Democrats have been seeking Trump’s tax records since 2019, and received them on Nov. 30.
Late Tuesday afternoon, members of the committee met behind closed doors to discuss how to approach their release.
Just before the closed-door meeting took place, the top Republican on the committee warned that releasing Trump’s returns would set up a dangerous precedent under which Congress would have ‘nearly unlimited power’ to threaten private citizens with the release of their tax information.
‘Not just private citizens… political enemies, business and labor leaders or even the returns of Supreme Court justices themselves,’ warned Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas. He added Congress has the power to ‘destroy’ private people by making their returns public.
After the vote, Brady said Democrats have ‘unleashed a dangerous new political weapon.’
Unlike prior presidents, Trump said he would not release his returns when he ran for the White House in 2016 and was elected even after making that decision. Republicans have said Trump’s election victory showed voters didn’t care, and that there is no reason to pursue Trump’s financial information at this point.