The Honorable Janet Yellen
Secretary of the Treasury
U.S. Department of the Treasury
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20220
March 25, 2021
Dear Secretary Yellen:
We, the undersigned organizations, are writing to ask that you direct officials at the Department of the Treasury to fulfil the April 3, 2019 request made by Representative Richard Neal, Chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives, for six years of President Trump’s personal and business tax returns and return information.
The Ways and Means Committee is legally entitled to this material. Section 6103(f) of the IRS Code provides that such tax information shall be furnished to the Committee when it is so requested. Your predecessor, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, illegally refused to fulfil this request despite this clear statutory requirement and the lack of any legitimate reason to withhold President Trump’s tax return materials.
The Treasury Department’s noncompliance is unprecedented. There is no record of any prior section 6103(f) request for tax materials being denied. Indeed, the Ways and Means Committee has previously requested and received tax materials concerning a member of congress, individuals who owed over $100 million in taxes, individuals and businesses who contract with the Federal government, large tax-exempt organizations, and others. Use of this provision to request the tax materials of those elected to the highest office in our land is not unprecedented. In 1974, the Committee requested and obtained tax materials pertaining to President Richard Nixon.
Examination of President Trump’s tax materials will inform Congress as it assesses the need for, and considers establishing, new protections against presidential corruption and closing loopholes in our tax code. Tax returns and associated materials are much more detailed than the information President Trump provided on his legally-required financial disclosure forms. We know, for instance, that President Trump received unconstitutional emoluments when foreign and domestic governments patronized his hotels and resorts, but Congress does not know the extent of the President’s unlawful enrichment. Public reporting also indicates that President Trump engaged in a decades-long tax avoidance scheme that may have violated federal and state tax laws. The Treasury Department must ensure that Congress is armed with key information about these matters as it works to fix the laws and institutions that allowed this corruption to fester.
Our constitutional system of checks and balances does not work if the executive branch ignores Congress’s right to conduct oversight and deprives it of the information it needs to legislate. Fulfilling the Treasury Department’s obligations under Section 6103(f) is part and parcel of restoring balance to our government and ensuring that future administrations treat the prior administration’s handling of President Trump’s tax materials as the unlawful aberration that it is.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington
Constitutional Accountability Center
Free Speech For People
Government Accountability Project
Project On Government Oversight (POGO)
Revolving Door Project
Stand Up America