Updated Dec 21, 2022 - Politics & Policy

House committee will release years of Trump's tax returns

Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during an event at his Mar-a-Lago home on November 15, 2022 in Palm Beach, Florida.

Former President Trump speaks during an event at his Mar-a-Lago home on Nov. 15 in Palm Beach, Florida. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The Democratic-led House Ways and Means Committee voted Tuesday to publicly release six years of former President Donald Trump's tax returns.

Why it matters: The returns will give new details on the former president's personal finances that he for years tried to block — and come as he seeks another White House bid and is entangled in a number of separate investigations.

Driving the news: It's not immediately clear how quickly the House committee will release the returns, which would provide details on some of his tax payments, financial obligations and donations to charity.

  • However, the panel published on Tuesday evening a separate report saying that the IRS failed to properly audit Trump during his presidency.
  • "It also published a report from the Joint Committee on Taxation summarizing a review of tax returns for 2015-2020 for Trump and his business entities, which will be released once redactions are made. The JCT report also found issues with the IRS auditing on the matter."

The big picture: The vote came after a yearslong feud between Trump and Democratic lawmakers over the tax returns, which reached a fever pitch last month when the issue went to the Supreme Court.

  • The Supreme Court ruled against Trump, paving the way for the House committee to gain access to the tax returns after it denied Trump's emergency application.
  • The committee has for years tried to gain access to the tax returns from the Internal Revenue Service as part of an investigation into the service's presidential audit program.
  • House Ways and Means Chair Richard Neal (D-Mass.) asked for access to six years of Trump's tax returns and some of his businesses.

What they're saying: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement that the committee's work "has revealed the urgent need for legislation to ensure the public can trust in real accountability and transparency during the audit of a sitting president's tax returns — not only in the case of President Trump, but for any president."

Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.), who chairs the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight, said in a statement that the planned release was "a triumph" for the idea that "no one person is above the law."

  • "For six long years we fought to release these documents because Americans deserve to know if their chief executive is compromised," Pascrell said.
  • He said he "categorically" rejects GOP backlash, accusing Republican lawmakers of hypocrisy.
  • "Congress is the Article I branch. Our power to oversee the executive is broad. That power was illegally stymied by Trump and his adjutants for years," Pascrell said.

The other side: Steven Cheung, a spokesperson for Trump, in a statement to Newsweek said the panel's actions represented an "unprecedented leak" that was "proof" that Democrats "are playing a political game they are losing."

  • "If they are so hell-bent on releasing President Trump's tax returns — which show he built a very successful business and created numerous lucrative assets throughout his career — they should release the tax returns of Nancy Pelosi," Cheung added.

Meanwhile, Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), ranking member of the Ways and Means Committee, said in a statement to media outlets, "Democrats will open the door for partisans in Congress to have nearly unlimited power to target political enemies by obtaining and making public their private tax returns."

Between the lines: The Democratic-led committee was up against a deadline — the new Republican House majority could've thrown out the investigation in the next Congress.

Zoom out: The Jan. 6 select committee referred Trump on Monday to the Department of Justice on at least four criminal charges for his efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

  • The Jan. 6 committee is expected Wednesday to release its sprawling report, which will include transcripts and additional evidence on Trump's role in the violence that day.
  • Representatives for the IRS did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with additional details throughout.

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