A congressional committee has voted to release Donald Trump’s previously confidential tax returns, in a move that could shed new light on the former president’s finances following a years-long legal stand-off.
The House ways and means committee made the move on Tuesday after meeting in closed session, just days before Republicans are due to regain control of the House of Representatives following the midterm elections.
Trump has long refused to publish his tax returns even though it has become a common practice for sitting presidents and presidential candidates. Democrats had sought to gain access to his tax records from the IRS since winning the majority in the House in 2018, but had been unable to do until late this year when the Supreme Court ruled that the committee could obtain them.
The public release of Trump’s tax returns comes after the House committee investigating the January 6 2021 attack on the US Capitol recommended to the Department of Justice that it should criminally charge him for aiding the insurrection, in another big blow to the former president.
Despite a string of legal and political setbacks — including the fact that several of his preferred candidates lost key races in the midterm elections last month — Trump has launched a new bid for the White House in 2024.
Kevin Brady, the top Republican on the ways and means committee, warned it would set a dangerous precedent for Congress to release a citizen’s tax returns, which in the future could extend to “political enemies, business and labour leaders, or even the returns of Supreme Court justices”.
“No party in Congress should have that power,” he said. “No individuals in Congress should have that power. It’s the power to embarrass, to harass or destroy Americans through disclosure of their tax returns.”