Quigley Presses Mnuchin on Trump Tax Returns
Today, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05), who serves as Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services & General Government (FSGG), pressed Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on the Trump administration’s decision of whether to comply with the House Ways and Means Committee’s request for the President’s tax returns. Quigley also questioned whether Treasury Department officials have communicated with the White House about requests to release the President’s tax returns. During that exchange, Mnuchin revealed that Treasury Department lawyers have consulted with the White House general counsel’s office about the Treasury Department’s response to Congress. Quigley’s questions came during an FSGG hearing on the Treasury Department’s FY2020 budget request.
Quigley released the following statement in response to Secretary Mnuchin’s comments at the hearing:
“The President has made it clear that he does not want his tax returns released to Congress or the public. Employees at both Treasury and the IRS work for the President, which raises the possibility of a conflict of interest. I have found it deeply concerning that the President has publicly exerted pressure on the Treasury Department not to submit his tax returns to Congress and now find it equally concerning that White House lawyers may also be pressuring Treasury and IRS staff behind the scenes. It is my hope that the IRS complies with the Ways and Means Committee’s request so we can put these questions to rest.”
QUIGLEY: The White House Chief of Staff made his thoughts on this pretty clear. Have you spoken to the White House Chief of Staff or the President about this decision?
MNUCHIN: I have not spoken to the White House Chief of Staff or the President about this decision.
QUIGLEY: Has anyone from the White House talked to you about this decision?
MNUCHIN: To me personally? Or to other people within my department?
QUIGLEY: Well, you personally first, and to other people second.
MNUCHIN: I have not had any conversations with anybody in the White House about this issue personally.
QUIGLEY: Or any communication?
MNUCHIN: I personally have not had any communication with anybody in the White House. Although, I want to be specific, that relates to me and not everybody in Treasury.
QUIGLEY: Okay. So, to your knowledge, has anybody in the administration communicated with anybody in your office about this decision?
MNUCHIN: Our legal department has had conversations prior to receiving the letter with the White House General Counsel.
QUIGLEY: And did they brief you as to the contents of that communication?
MNUCHIN: They have not briefed me to the contents of that communication. I believe that was purely informational.
QUIGLEY: You believe what was purely informational?
MNUCHIN: I believe that the communication between our legal department and the White House general counsel was informational. That we obviously had read in the press that we were expecting this.
QUIGLEY: So they communicated just to say “expect this,” or did they talk about their views in any way, shape, or form as to how you should respond?
MNUCHIN: Again, Mr. Chairman, I want to be clear. I personally wasn’t involved in those conversations. Again, I want to be very clear and not be misleading. I acknowledge that there were conversations. I am not briefed on the full extent of those conversations. And I would also just comment—those had been prior to us receiving the notice.
QUIGLEY: Because they saw the handwriting on the wall –
MNUCHIN: I think, as you know, it was widely advertised in the press beforehand, so this wasn’t exactly a state secret that we thought we’d be getting it.
QUIGLEY: I think this committee would like to know, in those communications the White House expressed, their desire to you or anybody else at Treasury what their views or how you should act on this matter. So, if you could pass that on, sir, we would greatly appreciate it.