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Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin speaks as President Donald Trump looks on

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin speaks as President Donald Trump looks on during a swearing-in ceremony in the Oval Office in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Progressives Demand House Dems Hold Mnuchin in Contempt for Defying Subpoena for Trump's Tax Returns

"It is unconscionable for our country to have a Treasury secretary who repeatedly shows us that he will continue to obstruct justice at every turn in order to do Trump's bidding."

Jessica Corbett

Progressive groups on Friday called on House Democrats to hold Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin in contempt of Congress for his refusal to comply with a subpoena for President Donald Trump's tax returns.

Last week, as Common Dreams reported, after Mnuchin repeatedly rejected lawmakers' request for six years of Trump's tax returns, the House Ways and Means Committee subpoenaed both Mnuchin and IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig.

Mnuchin maintained his position in a one-page letter (pdf) to the committee's chairman, Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), on Friday, writing that the Justice Department has determined that "the committee's request lacks a legitimate legislative purpose."

The Treasury secretary's decision to defy the committee's 5pm Friday deadline all but guarantees a court fight over the documents, and Neal said in a statement Friday he is "consulting with counsel on how best to enforce the subpoenas moving forward." The chairman also noted that "the law provides clear statutory authority for [him] to request and receive access to tax returns and return information."

The progressive advocacy groups Stand Up America and Tax March, in response to Mnuchin's letter, urged House Democrats to hold him in contempt of Congress.

"It is unconscionable for our country to have a Treasury secretary who repeatedly shows us that he will continue to obstruct justice at every turn in order to do Trump's bidding," Tax March executive director Maura Quint said in a statement. "Neither Mnuchin nor Donald Trump is above the law."

"This is why it's imperative for Chairman Neal to do everything within his power to defend Congress's constitutional powers and hold Mnuchin in contempt of Congress," she continued. "The American people deserve better and justice cannot wait."

"By willfully failing to meet this deadline, Secretary Mnuchin has made a mockery of Congress and the Constitution that empowers the legislative branch to conduct oversight of the executive branch."
—Ryan Thomas, Stand Up America

Stand Up America spokesperson Ryan Thomas concurred, pointing out that "compliance was not optional."

"By willfully failing to meet this deadline," he said, "Secretary Mnuchin has made a mockery of Congress and the Constitution that empowers the legislative branch to conduct oversight of the executive branch."

Thomas implored Neal to "swiftly begin proceedings to hold Secretary Mnuchin in contempt of Congress and to immediately take him to court to force the administration to comply with this lawful request."

"These blatant attempts to hide the truth from the American people are illegal," he added. "It is far past time for Secretary Mnuchin to stop protecting Donald Trump and follow the letter of the law by complying with this request."


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New Climate Study Predicting More Rain Than Snow in the Arctic 'Rings Alarm Bells'

"There are huge ramifications of these changes," said the lead researcher, "all of which have implications on wildlife populations and human livelihoods."

Jessica Corbett ·


Durbin Introduces Amendment to End 'Legacy of Cruelty' by Closing Guantánamo

"It's time at long last to face reality and... close the detention facility at Guantánamo. Let's put this dark chapter behind us once and for all."

Brett Wilkins ·


As Executives Hike Prices, US Corporations Rake in Biggest Profits Since 1950

"Prices are high," said Sen. Sherrod Brown, "because corporations are raising them—so they can keep paying themselves with ever-larger executive bonuses and stock buybacks."

Jake Johnson ·


47 Groups Urge Congress to Avert 'Human Rights Failure' by Blocking Biden's Saudi Arms Sale

"The Biden administration in its very first weeks committed both to center human rights in foreign policy and to end U.S. complicity in the war in Yemen. Allowing this sale to stand breaks that commitment."

Brett Wilkins ·


Congress 'Asleep at the Switch' as Biden Continues Trump-Era Ploy to Privatize Medicare

More than 1,500 physicians warn that the experiment threatens "the future of Medicare as we know it."

Jake Johnson ·

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