Reichert Statement on President Trump's Tax Returns
In the recent months, I have heard from a number of my constituents about President Trump’s tax returns. Some believe Congress should focus on other, more pressing issues while others are demanding we forcibly release the President’s returns.
I strongly encourage President Trump to release his tax returns. I said so during his presidential campaign and still believe he should. But, in America all citizens' tax returns are protected by law, just as our homes are protected from unwarranted searches and seizures. The law clearly states tax returns shall be confidential (26 U.S.C. 6103) and campaign traditions do not supersede those rights. Not following the law sets a bad precedent that could threaten the privacy of all American taxpayers.
I opposed efforts in Congress to forcibly release the President’s returns because it would require an abuse of the authority given to the Ways and Means Committee. The powerful oversight tools given to the Committee should only be used to ensure that our tax code is being properly administered by the IRS – not to go on fishing expeditions for political purposes. If Congress begins to use its powers to rummage around in the tax returns of the President, what prevents Congress from doing the same to average Americans? The Ways and Means Committee has never been in the business of targeting the tax returns of single individuals – and we are not about to start now.
As a former member of law enforcement, a Member of Congress, and American citizen, I am committed to protecting the privacy rights of the American people and abiding by and enforcing the law. Those principles will always come before political expediency.