The Internal Revenue Service failed to audit former President Donald Trump during his first two years in the White House despite a longstanding program mandating a yearly IRS review of presidential tax filings.

The Democratic-controlled House Ways and Means Committee voted along party lines on Tuesday for the release of documents related to Trump’s tax filings from 2015 through 2020. Republicans warned that forcing the publicity of the documents belonging to the former president could be a dangerous precedent to set.

“Going forward, partisans in Congress have nearly unlimited power to target political enemies by obtaining and making public their private tax returns to embarrass and destroy them,” Ways and Means Republican Rep. Kevin Brady (Texas) wrote in a statement.

Trump became the first president in the modern era to refuse to release his tax returns, claiming the IRS was auditing him. He has fought to keep the filings private, but the Supreme Court denied his request to keep them sealed.


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Democratic Way and Means Chairman Richard Neal (Massachusettes) reported that the committee found that the IRS only began examining Trump’s filings in 2019, after the Democrats took control of the House – and that audit was incomplete.

“The Committee expected that these mandatory audits were being conducted promptly and in accordance with IRS policies,” Neal said in a statement. “However, our review found that under the prior administration, the program was dormant. We know now, the first mandatory audit was opened two years into his presidency. On the same day this Committee requested his returns.”

It is unclear what exact documents will be released by the committee. Neal said that they are currently working to scrub Trump’s personal information from the filings and that will take at least a few days.

The committee added in their report that Congress should take action to ensure the IRS follows through with the program in the future.

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