(Reuters) – Democrats in Congress released six years of Donald Trump’s tax returns to the public on Friday, revealing information the former president has long fought to keep hidden and delivering the former president another blow as he seeks the presidency again in 2024.
A Democratic-controlled committee in the United States House of Representatives published Trump’s redacted tax returns for 2015 through 2020, concluding a multi-year struggle between the Republican former president and Democratic legislators that was only resolved last month by the US Supreme Court.
Aside from the returnees, there wasn’t much new in the release. In reaction, Trump issued a grave warning and utilised the opportunity to solicit campaign funds.
During the run-up to the 2024 presidential election, Trump’s financial data will now be accessible for in-depth examinations by journalists, independent tax experts, and others, potentially shedding light on Trump’s wealth, company success, and how he minimised his tax bill.
The roughly 6,000 pages of papers include over 2,700 pages of personal tax returns from Trump and his wife Melania Trump, as well as over 3,000 pages of corporate tax filings.
According to the data, Trump’s income and tax liabilities changed considerably between 2015 and 2020, during his first presidential candidature and subsequent tenure in office. In some of those years, he and his wife claimed huge deductions and losses and paid little or no income tax.
Trump, a businessman who entered the White House for the first time in 2017, was the first presidential candidate in decades not to reveal his tax records. He sued the committee in an attempt to keep them secret, but the US Supreme Court decided in favour of the committee.
According to conclusions released last week, the tax-collecting Internal Revenue Service violated its own standards by failing to audit Trump for three of the four years he was president.
“Our conclusions were straightforward – the IRS did not initiate its required audit of the former president until I requested it,” House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal said in a statement.
Neal sought the returns for the first time in 2019, claiming that Congress required them to examine if legislation on presidential tax returns was necessary.
It was the latest setback for Trump, 76, who was impeached twice by the Democratic-led House only to be acquitted both times by the United States Senate and now faces a slew of legal issues as he campaigns for reelection in 2024.
Earlier this month, the House committee investigating his followers’ Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the United States Capitol recommended federal prosecutors to prosecute him with four felonies, including obstruction and insurrection, for his participation in the fatal riot.
“The Democrats should never have done it, the Supreme Court should never have authorised it, and it’s going to lead to bad things for so many people,” Trump said in a statement.
“The vast division in the United States will now worsen. Everything has been weaponized by the Radical Left Democrats, but keep in mind that this is a hazardous two-way street! “He said.
Representative Kevin Brady, the House panel s top Republican, cautioned that future committee chairs would have “almost limitless” ability to make public the tax returns of private persons, including “political opponents”.
“This is a horrible stain on the Ways and Means Committee and Congress, and it will further divide and dishearten American politics. Democrats will come to regret it in the long term “Brady made the announcement in a statement.
The panel already revealed that Trump paid no income tax in 2020, his last full year in office, despite earning millions of dollars from his vast commercial empire.
Democrats were on a tight deadline to figure out how to handle the results once they were acquired, considering that Republicans would assume control of the House on Tuesday after earning a small majority in the midterm elections in November.
Before going on its Christmas break, the Democratic-controlled House enacted legislation requiring the tax-collecting Internal Revenue Service to complete audits of presidents’ tax returns within 90 days after their inaugurations.