May 10 (UPI) -- The House Ways and Means Committee on Friday sent a subpoena to the International Revenue Service and Treasury Department for copies of President Donald Trump's tax returns.
The subpoenas by Chairman Richard Neal to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin came less than a week after the latter rejected a request for the documents. Mnuchin said the committee's request lacked "legitimate legislative purpose."
The committee seeks six years of Trump's personal and business returns.
"While I do not take this step lightly, I believe this action gives us the best opportunity to succeed and obtain the requested material," Neal said.
In addition to saying he couldn't see a legislative reason for Congress to review Trump's tax returns, Mnuchin said the release of the documents could threaten the privacy of all other tax payers.
Rettig previously deferred to Mnuchin's guidance on the final decision.
Earlier Monday, the top Republican on the committee, Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, cautioned Neal against issuing a subpoena or launching a lawsuit to obtain the tax returns. He said doing so would be an abuse of the committee's oversight powers.
"It has been made clear that this information is not being sought to further a valid legislative purpose, but instead to try to embarrass a political enemy," Brady said in a letter to Neal. "To properly exercise congressional oversight authority, courts have long held that a valid legislative purpose is required for all congressional investigations."