U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Tuesday that the Treasury is going to protect President Donald Trump’s tax return information as it would protect anyone’s tax information.
Congressional Democrats have called on the president since the beginning of his term to make his tax returns available to the public after resisting a four-decade-long tradition of presidents submitting their return information despite not being required to do so.
Mnuchin’s comments came during testimony in front of the House tax committee, Reuters reports. (RELATED: House Democrats’ Battle For Trump Tax Returns Begin)
“I’m not aware if there’s ever been a request for an elected official’s tax return,” the Treasury secretary said in response to questioning from Democratic Texas Rep. Lloyd Doggett, “but we will follow the law, and we will protect the president as we would protect any individual taxpayer under their rights.”
Last Thursday, House Democrats introduced a bill that would require Trump and all other presidents and presidential candidates to release 10 years of tax returns as part of their “For the People Act,” a 500-page finance, ethics and elections reform package.
In his opening remarks at a hearing for the legislation, Democratic Georgia Rep. John Lewis explained, “We will ask the question: Does the public need to know that a person holding the highest office in our country obeys the tax laws?”
Signing my tax return…. pic.twitter.com/XJfXeaORbU
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 15, 2015
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal is expected to request Trump’s personal and/or business tax return documents from Mnuchin within the next few weeks. Asking a sitting president for tax return information, however, is unprecedented and would likely involve long court sessions.
William Tranghese, an aide to Neal, said “a strong case is being built” and Neal is consulting with House lawyers “to determine the appropriate legal steps to go forward with this unprecedented request.”
The For The People Act, which Mitch McConnell described as a “power grab,” also proposes automatic voting rights to convicted felons and illegal immigrants, regulated “campaign speech” and increased donor transparency.