The private attorneys to President Donald Trump took aim at House Democrats in a letter on Monday, blasting them as being a “junior varsity IRS” and jabbing at their motives behind the demands for the president’s tax returns.
The president’s attorney, William Consovoy, sent a letter to the IRS and the Treasury Department on Monday arguing that the reason behind House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal’s (D-Mass.) demands for obtaining the president’s tax returns for review infringe upon president’s First Amendment rights.
Consovoy contended that the real motive behind Neal’s request was not congressional oversight, but, instead, political retribution founded in a “radical view of unchecked congressional power.”
He also questioned the “constitutional authority” of the chairman’s request and slammed House Democrats for acting like a “junior varsity IRS” in requesting the documents.
“Congress has no constitutional authority to act like a junior-varsity IRS, rerunning individual examinations or flyspecking the agency’s calculations.”
Neal insisted that Congress was able to view the returns and said that “it is not the proper function of the IRS, Treasury, or Justice to question or second guess the motivations of the Committee.”
After Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin said last week that his department would not be able to meet the initial deadline proposed by Neal, the Massachusetts Democrat shifted the deadline date to April 23.
In his letter to Mnuchin on Saturday extending the deadline, Neal stated that “fail[ure] to comply” with his request to receive Trump’s tax returns would “be interpreted as a denial of [his] request.”
The Treasury Department has said that it would be checking with the Department of Justice before responding to Neal’s request for the documents, per instructions from the president’s attorneys.
President Trump is the first president in 40 years to break precedent and not release his tax returns.