WASHINGTON (CN) – An attorney for President Donald Trump pushed back Friday against a House panel’s attempt to obtain his tax returns, calling the effort a political ploy outside of the committee’s constitutional role.
The four-page letter sent Friday from William Consovoy, of the firm Consovoy McCarthy Park, to the Treasury Department says the House Ways and Means Committee overstepped when it requested six years of Trump’s tax returns on Wednesday.
“Ways and Means has no legitimate committee purpose for requesting the president’s tax returns or return information,” the letter states. “While the committee has jurisdiction over taxes, it has no power to conduct its own examination of individual taxpayers.”
While the House Ways and Means Committee’s request says the panel is considering legislation related to how the IRS handles federal tax laws as applied to the president, Consovoy says that justification is a pretext.
Instead, he argues the request is clearly meant to harm Trump politically, a “gross abuse of power” that does not support the committee’s actions.
“His request is a transparent effort by one political party to harass an official from the other party because they dislike his politics and his speech,” the letter states, referring to House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass. “Chairman Neal wants the president’s tax returns and return information because his party recently gained control of the House, the president is their political opponent and they want to use the information to damage him politically.”
The request from the House Ways and Means Committee asks the IRS to hand over federal tax returns Trump and his businesses filed between 2013 and 2018, any administrative files that go along with them and information on audits.