It may only take action from a single Republican to release President Donald Trump’s tax returns to Congress and eventually make them public, according to George Yin, a former chief of staff of the congressional Joint Committee on Taxation.
Rules already on the books show that the Senate does not need a new law, such as the one Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is promoting, Yin writes for Politico Magazine.
The law was passed in 1924 to address conflict of interest concerns, and show that the House Ways and Means Committee, the Senate Finance Committee and the Joint Committee on Taxation all have the right to obtain any person’s tax returns, including the president’s, without that person’s consent, in order to conduct an investigation.
Republicans have only a one-vote majority on the Finance Committee, meaning that consent by just one Republican on the committee could authorize the action, said Yin.
Yin speculated that Republican Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, who criticized Trump on his decision to revoke former CIA Director John Brennan’s security clearance, could decide to make the move.
Other committee members, including Sens. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Rob Portman of Ohio, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Tim Scott of South Carolina, all of whom spoke out against Trump after his comments alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin, could also consent to obtaining the tax reports, said Yin.
After that, the nonpartisan staff of the Joint Committee of Taxation could conduct a confidential investigation, having done so in the past with the investigation of the tax returns of former President Richard Nixon.
In addition, special counsel Robert Mueller could obtain tax information, but only data that is relevant to his investigation into Russian collusion, said Yin.
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