Bill Weld, GOP primary challenger to Donald Trump, wants to disclose presidential tax returns

May 22, 2019

Former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld, who is mounting a long-shot 2020 primary challenge to President Trump, says if elected he would prod Congress to pass a law requiring presidents to disclose their tax returns.

Mr. Weld said he’d ask lawmakers to send him a bill in his first 100 days in office requiring presidential candidates to release five years of their past tax returns and their tax filings for every year they are in office.

Mr. Weld, the Libertarian Party’s 2016 vice presidential nominee, said the American people have a right to know if their president is profiting from relationships with “foreign adversaries.”

“Contrary to long-standing tradition, [Trump] has hidden from the people the one document that would most clearly reveal just how entangled his business dealings have been with foreign entities: his tax returns,” Mr. Weld said in prepared remarks for an event in Boston on Tuesday.

Mr. Trump broke with decades of precedent by declining to release any returns during the presidential campaign, citing an ongoing audit.

The administration also recently defied a congressional subpoena demanding that the IRS turn over the president’s tax returns.

Rep. Richard Neal has cited a law that says the Treasury Department “shall furnish” taxpayer information upon request from the chairmen of Congress’s tax-writing committees, but Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin has resisted, questioning the legislative purpose for such a request.

Mr. Neal said he wants the returns to examine the IRS practice of auditing presidential tax returns, though other Democrats have openly speculated that they could contain compromising or damaging information.

The Washington Post reported Tuesday on an internal IRS memo that said the returns have to be given to Congress unless the president invokes executive privilege and contradicts Mr. Mnuchin’s rationale for refusing the request.

The IRS told the paper it was a draft document prepared in the fall and written by a lawyer in the Office of Chief Counsel, and that it did not represent the agency’s official position.

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