GOP Rep. Kevin Brady calls Democrats' efforts to obtain Trump's tax returns 'dangerous'

Key Points
  • Democrats have renewed their efforts to force the release of President Trump's tax returns through Congress, following a bombshell investigation by The New York Times.
  • Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, the House's top tax writer, called those efforts "dangerous."
  • Ways and Means ranking member Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., says he would work to obtain the tax documents if Democrats win majority control of the House in November.
Chairman of the House Ways and Means Kevin Brady
Joshua Roberts | Reuters

Democrats have renewed efforts to obtain President Donald Trump's tax returns in light of a bombshell New York Times investigation into the Trump family's finances, a push House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady called "dangerous."

"Once Democrats abuse this law to make public @realDonaldTrump tax returns, what stops them from prying/making public YOUR tax returns for political reasons?' Brady said in a tweet Thursday.

Brady tweet

In a statement to CNBC, Brady said: "The Ways and Means Committee's authority to request and make public any individual's tax return is a powerful oversight tool to be used not for political fishing expeditions but to properly administer the tax code."

Brady is the top tax writer in the House.

Democrats on the Ways and Means Committee, including ranking member Rep. Richard Neal of Massachusetts, said they would work to obtain the tax documents if they win majority control of the House in the November midterm elections.

When asked whether he would request Trump's returns, Neal told The Wall Street Journal that "we will do that."

Trump had repeatedly said he would release his tax returns after an audit from the Internal Revenue Service was completed. However, an audit does not prohibit Trump from releasing his tax returns.

Trump's 'suspect tax schemes' in focus

Trump's opponents have called on him to release his tax returns since he was a presidential candidate. His opponent at the time, Hillary Clinton, released multiple years of her own returns during the campaign.

Democratic efforts to get Trump's tax records appeared to be rejuvenated Tuesday, after The New York Times published an exhaustive investigation into decades of the Trump family's financial maneuvers.

The Times, which spent 18 months looking at thousands of Trump family documents, said Trump had committed "instances of outright fraud" as part of tax avoidance schemes coordinated in part with his late father, Fred.

The newspaper also reported that the president had received millions of dollars from hundreds of revenue streams stemming from his father, as well as more than $60 million in loans from the elder Trump. The reporting directly contradicts Trump's oft-repeated claim that he had built his real estate empire with only a $1 million loan from his father.

The report triggered a response from New York state tax authorities, who said they were reviewing the allegations detailed in the Times article.

In a statement to the Times, Trump lawyer Charles Harder denied allegations of fraud and tax evasion, saying "the facts upon which The Times bases its allegations are extremely inaccurate." White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Trump himself dismissed the article as "boring."

Sanders on Wednesday also said there were no plans to release the president's tax returns.

Democratic Rep. Bill Pascrell of New Jersey, who in the past had led the Ways and Means Committee minority's efforts to force a vote on releasing Trump's tax returns, said in a statement Tuesday: "We must see Trump's tax returns to know just how far and how deep the crimes go."

"I have led efforts to obtain Trump's tax returns using Ways and Means Committee authority, and Republicans have now voted 19 times against doing so," he added. "I have been asking: What are they hiding?"

WATCH: NY state reviewing NYT's tax fraud allegations on Trump

NY state reviewing NYT's tax fraud allegations on Trump