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Richard Neal

The House Ways and Means Committee finally sued the IRS and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to get them to follow the damn law and hand over Donald Trump's tax returns. It's about damn time!

Because it's been three months since the Committee requested Trump's tax returns, to which they are unambiguously entitled by law. It's been six weeks since the Committee subpoenaed the returns, only to be told to go piss up a rope by the IRS and Trump's lawyers. White House acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney has vowed that Congress will "never" get the returns. And it's very clear that, until the Supreme Court orders them to cough 'em up, the Trump administration will cling to their made-up, invisible ink, secret clause of Section 6103(f) that says, "Unless the Treasury Secretary looks into Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal's soul and sees that his motives are impure, in which case the Secretary can tell Congress to get bent."


Ways and Means is entitled by law to see any return they ask for. As their complaint points out, "It is not for the Executive or the Judiciary to examine the Committee's motivations for its oversight inquiries. Nor does the Executive's disdain for the Committee's investigation provide any basis for the denial of the Committee's Section 6103(f) request." The Committee doesn't have to supply a reason for the request, but, as it happens, the Presiderp used his ALL THE BEST WORDS to serve one up on a silver platter.

By law, the IRS automatically audits the president and vice-president every year, a fact that Sarah Huckabee Sanders described as "very unfair." Even before the election, candidate Trump described himself as "constantly under audit," a situation he attributed not to his egregious use of tax shelters and other dubious tax avoidance schemes, but to "the fact that I'm a strong Christian, and I feel strongly about it and maybe there's a bias." Well, obviously.

But Trump's constant carping about nefarious DEEP STATE operatives doing tapps to his returns because they are trying to crucify him for his faith in Jesus has given Richard Neal a perfect opening to argue that Ways and Means needs to take a good, hard look at the presidential auditing process.

The Committee is investigating the IRS's administration of various tax laws and policies relating to Presidential tax returns and tax law compliance by President Trump, including whether the IRS's self-imposed policy of annually auditing the returns of sitting Presidents is working properly, even though it has not been updated in decades. Indeed, President Trump himself has repeatedly questioned the integrity of the process by which the IRS audits his tax returns, complaining that his returns are under "continuous audit" and that the IRS's policy of annually auditing Presidential returns is "extremely unfair." The President has also publicly theorized that the IRS audits him because of his assertedly strong Christian faith.

And from where you're sitting, this might look like pretextual bullshit. Maybe it doesn't matter to you how Neal gets Trump's returns, and you don't care if he claims to be evaluating the presidential audit procedures, as long as he gets his hands on whatever Trump's trying so desperately to hide, right goddamn now. But last week the Supreme Court told the Census Bureau that it needs to go home and find a better lie if it wants to add the citizenship question to the Census. The Court held that the Commerce Department was entirely within its rights to add the question for no reason at all, but it couldn't just come before Congress and the Court and LIE about its motivations. So Neal's references to actual pending legislation might go some way toward ensuring that this case runs smoothly as it makes its way through the federal courts. He doesn't need a reason, but the fact that he has a perfectly good one is just icing on the cake.

TL, DR? President Hoofin Mouth strikes again!

[Committee on Ways and Means v. US Treasury]

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Liz Dye

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.

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