July 2 (UPI) -- The House Ways and Means Committee sued the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service Tuesday to get President Donald Trump's federal tax returns.
The panel, led by Democrats, had asked for more than six years of Trump's personal and business tax returns, going as far as issuing subpoenas for the records. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and IRS head Charles Rettig rebuffed the request.
The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., claiming that Mnuchin, Rettig and their departments "have now - for what the committee believes is the first time ever - denied a Section 6103(f) request in order to shield President Trump's tax return information from Congressional scrutiny."
Democrats have said the federal tax code gives Congress the right to receive the records on request.
"In refusing to comply with the statute, defendants have mounted an extraordinary attack on the authority of Congress to obtain information needed to conduct oversight of Treasury, the IRS, and the tax laws on behalf of the American people who participate in the nation's voluntary tax system," the suit said.
In a letter to Ways and Means chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., in May, Mnuchin said Democrats were "weaponizing" the IRS to simply attack Trump politically and receiving his tax returns had no value.
"In reliance on the advice of the Department of Justice, we have determined that the committee's request lacks a legitimate legislative purpose, and ... the department is therefore not authorized to disclose the requested returns and return information," Mnuchin said in the letter.