A House committee made public six years of former President Donald Trump’s tax returns Friday, the culmination of years of legal wrangling and speculation about what might be contained in the filings.
The panel’s top Republican, Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas, has called the release of the documents “unprecedented,” and said it will “jeopardize the right of every American to be protected from political targeting by Congress.”
“It’s the power to embarrass, harass or destroy Americans through disclosure of their tax returns,” Brady said. “After nearly half a century, the political enemies list is back in Washington, D.C., and we worry this will unleash a cycle of political retribution in Congress.”
In a video statement last Friday, former President Trump called the planned release “an outrageous abuse of power,” and falsely claimed that Democrats had “illegally obtained and leaked my personal tax returns, which show only that I’ve had tremendous success.”
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The returns, which include redactions of some personal sensitive information such as Social Security and bank account numbers, are from 2015 to 2020. Their release follows a party-line vote in the House Ways and Means Committee last week to make the returns public.
Committee Democrats argued that transparency and the rule of law were at stake, while Republicans countered that the release would set a dangerous precedent with regard to the loss of privacy protections.
The release comes just days before Republicans retake control of the House from the Democrats, and raises the potential of new revelations about Trump’s finances, which have been shrouded in mystery and intrigue since his days as an up-and-coming Manhattan real estate developer in the 1980s.
“Our findings turned out to be simple — I.R.S. did not begin their mandatory audit of the former president until I made my initial request,” Representative Richard E. Neal of Massachusetts, the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, said in a written statement on Friday.