Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin testifies before a House Appropriations subcommittee on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (Photo: AP)

Mnuchin Refusal to Hand Over Trump Tax Returns Called 'Blatant Affront to Rule of Law'

"The American people can and will hold Donald Trump and the corrupt officials in his administration accountable—no one, not even the president, is above the law."

Jake Johnson

Following Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin's formal refusal to hand over six years of President Donald Trump's tax returns, progressive groups late Monday urged House Democrats to stop waiting for the administration to comply with the law and immediately subpoena the documents—and hold Mnuchin in contempt of Congress if necessary.

"This blatant affront to the rule of law cannot go unanswered," Tax March and Stand Up America said in a joint statement.

"If Trump once again faces only Republican silence and Democratic timidity, he will continue to erode our democracy by assuming more and more power."
—Rep. Lloyd Doggett
House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) "has no choice but to subpoena Trump's personal and business tax returns and, if the stonewalling continues, hold Secretary Mnuchin in contempt of Congress for illegally shielding the returns," the groups said.

"The American people can and will hold Donald Trump and the corrupt officials in his administration accountable—no one, not even the president, is above the law," the statement concluded.

The progressive groups' call for action from the Democratic House came after Mnuchin sent a letter to Neal Monday evening rejecting the Ways and Means Committee's demand for Trump's tax returns, claiming the request does not "serve a legitimate legislative purpose."

Mnuchin said in his letter that he relied on "the advice of the Department of Justice" in making this determination. According to the Washington Post's Damian Paletta, the Justice Department refused to release its formal legal opinion on the matter—possibly because it doesn't exist.

A number of legal experts have said the law clearly states Mnuchin must release the president's tax returns upon request from Congress.

"The statute is very clear and seems like very strong support for what Mr. Neal is trying to do," George K. Yin, a professor at the University of Virginia School of Law and former chief of staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation, told Roll Call last month. "I think [Mnuchin] obviously needs to think very seriously about that; now he might not care if he gets fired, but I think he would care if he gets sent to jail."

Mnuchin sent his letter to Neal just hours after the House Judiciary Committee scheduled a Wednesday vote on whether to hold Trump Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress over his refusal to comply with a subpoena for the unredacted Mueller report.

Neal said he "will consult with counsel and determine the appropriate response" to Mnuchin's stonewalling.

Progressives were quick to argue there is no reason to delay legal action any longer, particularly after Neal dragged his feet in the process of formally requesting Trump's tax returns.

Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas.), a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, expressed agreement with progressives' demand for rapid action in a statement late Monday.

"We need immediate legal action. We cannot allow this bad president to set bad precedent," Doggett said. "If Trump once again faces only Republican silence and Democratic timidity, he will continue to erode our democracy by assuming more and more power."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Coalition Urges Biden to Make 'Transformative Change' in Approach to Global Food and Agriculture

"This pro-corporate agriculture agenda must change under your watch."

Andrea Germanos ·


Mondaire Jones Warns Against Watering Down Human Infrastructure Proposals

The New York Democrat is advocating universal programs, not means-tested ones, for programs in the Build Back Better plan.

Andrea Germanos ·


Manchin Threatening Key Climate Provision: Reports

"To take it out is to decide that climate change isn't a problem."

Andrea Germanos ·


'Make a Gesture of Humanity': Pope Francis Urges Pharma Giants to Release Covid-19 Vaccine Patents

"There are countries where only three or four percent of the inhabitants have been vaccinated."

Andrea Germanos ·


Manchin Fumes After Sanders Op-Ed in West Virginia Paper Calls Out Obstruction of Biden Agenda

"Poll after poll shows overwhelming support for this legislation," wrote Sanders. "Two Democratic senators remain in opposition, including Sen. Joe Manchin."

Andrea Germanos ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo