Top House Democrat steps up demand for Trump's tax returns

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The report states that Neal brushed aside comments made by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin that he doesn't have to order the IRS to provide them as lacking "merit". Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Mich., speaking before Mnuchin's response was delivered, said it may take Neal a couple of days to issue his own response. "For the same reasons, I intend to supervise the Department's review of the Committee's request to ensure that taxpayer protections and applicable laws are scrupulously observed, consistent with my statutory responsibilities", wrote Secretary Mnuchin to Chairman Neal.

Democrats want Trump's tax returns as part of their investigations of possible conflicts of interest posed by his continued ownership of extensive business interests, even as he serves the public as president.

President Donald Trump arrives at the International Union of Operating Engineers International Training and Education Center on April 10, 2019, in Crosby, Texas.

"Even if Ways and Means had a legitimate committee goal for requesting the President's tax returns and return information, that objective is not driving Chairman Neal's request", he wrote.

Citing the White House's "stonewalling" of a request by congressional Democrats to obtain President Trump's tax returns, Democratic lawmakers in New York's state legislature are spearheading a new effort to try to release the president's state tax information to Congress.

Mnuchin said that Treasury Department lawyers have been working "diligently" to research the issues involved and have been in contact with Justice Department attorneys.

Trump broke with 40 years of presidential campaign tradition by declining to release his personal returns before the 2016 election.

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On Monday, lawmakers in NY proposed a bill that would allow the commissioner of the state's Department of Taxation and Finance to turn over state tax returns if requested by certain congressional committees.

Trump appears prepared to fight this to the Supreme Court.

Neal tells IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig, a Trump appointee, that he has two weeks to respond. The IRS says there's no rule against subjects of an audit from publicly releasing their tax filings.

"Please know that, if you fail to comply, your failure will be interpreted as a denial of my request", Neal wrote.

Mr Neal is the only member of the House of Representatives authorised to request individual tax information under a federal law.

William Consovoy, whose firm was retained by Trump to represent him on the matter, has written the Treasury's general counsel and said the congressional request "would set a unsafe precedent" if granted and that the IRS can not legally divulge the information.

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