‘Dangerous Precedent’: Grassley on Justice Department Ordering Release of Trump Tax Returns

Senator Chuck Grassley
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The Epoch Times

The Department of Justice’s (DOJ) order on Friday to release former President Donald Trump’s tax returns appears to be purely political and sets a dangerous precedent, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said.

In 2019, the department said the returns did not have to be given to Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, because Neal was “disingenuous” about the true purpose of seeking the returns.

On July 31, a lawyer in the department’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) reversed that decision, alleging the panel “invoked facially valid reasons for its request.”

Grassley was among those decrying the move.

“The federal government closely guards private taxpayer information for a reason. It seems to me that this new opinion from the Biden Justice Department is just politics. The Office of Legal Counsel is supposed to be a source of thoughtful legal analysis, not a source of political justifications to back up partisan House investigations. Troublingly, this new OLC opinion contradicts its own very recent opinion,” the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, and a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee, said in a statement.

Grassley noted that the Treasury Department’s career inspector general, Richard Delmar, affirmed last year that the Treasury Department separately acted properly when deciding whether to release the returns to Neal.

“There’s no legitimate legislative purpose for targeting an individual’s tax information like this, even if it’s the former president. It’s always been obvious that House Democrats wanted to get the former president’s tax returns just so they could release them to the public, and the Ways and Means Committee’s excuse about doing oversight on the presidential audit program is an obvious pretext that deserves no deference from the Treasury Department. It doesn’t matter who it is, such a partisan and targeted abuse of private taxpayer information is a very dangerous precedent that will damage our country,” Grassley said.

BY ZACHARY STIEBER

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Grassley Statement On OLC Opinion Regarding House Democrat Request For Trump’s Tax Returns

WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and senior member of the Senate Finance Committee, made the following comment after the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel reversed its prior opinion urging the Treasury Department denial of House Democrats’ request for former President Trump’s tax returns.

“The federal government closely guards private taxpayer information for a reason. It seems to me that this new opinion from the Biden Justice Department is just politics. The Office of Legal Counsel is supposed to be a source of thoughtful legal analysis, not a source of political justifications to back up partisan House investigations. Troublingly, this new OLC opinion contradicts its own very recent opinion.

“The process Treasury undertook to vet this request for private tax information was proper. The career, non-partisan watchdog affirmed that last year. There’s no legitimate legislative purpose for targeting an individual’s tax information like this, even if it’s the former president. It’s always been obvious that House Democrats wanted to get the former president’s tax returns just so they could release them to the public, and the Ways and Means Committee’s excuse about doing oversight on the presidential audit program is an obvious pretext that deserves no deference from the Treasury Department. It doesn’t matter who it is, such a partisan and targeted abuse of private taxpayer information is a very dangerous precedent that will damage our country.”  

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