WASHINGTON – Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley blasted House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal for demanding that the IRS turn over President Donald Trump’s tax returns.
Grassley, an Iowa Republican, asserted in a lengthy speech on Thursday that Neal, a Massachusetts Democrat, did not have a genuine legislative purpose for gathering the returns and said the reasoning outlined in his letter to Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Charles Rettig was about “finding a pretext to bring this president down.”
“When you strip out all their pretexts, and when you strip out their circular logic, all you have are Democrats who want to go after the president any way they can,” Grassley said. “They dislike him with a passion, and they want his tax returns to destroy him. That’s all this is about, and it’s Nixonian to the core.”
Neal on Wednesday sent Rettig a letter requesting Trump’s personal and business tax returns from the past six years. Neal, who demanded a response by next Wednesday, cast his letter as legislative oversight to ensure the IRS was following its policy of auditing every sitting president and vice president’s return. Trump has already said he is “not inclined” to turn over his returns, though the decision is technically left to the U.S. Treasury Department.
“Democrats haven’t offered a shred of evidence to suggest that the IRS hasn’t done its job auditing President Trump’s taxes or anybody else’s for that matter,” said Grassley, who has said in the past that he wants his committee to receive the returns as well if Neal receives them.
“They’re not concerned about oversight of the IRS enforcement process at all,” Grassley said. “What they are interested in is using their oversight authority to collect as much information about this president’s finances as they can get their hands on.”