Beyer: OLC memo protecting Trump on tax returns is ‘pure projection’

Don BeyerRep. Don Beyer (D-VA) made the following statement on the Office of Legal Counsel’s memo on the House Ways and Means Committee’s Request for the President’s Tax Returns issued Friday afternoon.

“The OLC’s legal opinion is pure projection. They write that the Ways and Means Committee’s legislative purpose for seeking the President’s tax returns is ‘pretextual’ in a memo which is itself pretextual.

“This so-called ‘legal opinion’ came after the President publicly stated his Administration’s intention to illegally refuse the Chairman’s request, which was followed by Secretary Mnuchin’s statement to our Committee that OLC would issue an opinion justifying that refusal. The legal opinion did not come first, it came last in order to justify a decision that the President made to ignore the law after the fact, and everyone watched this ridiculous farce play out.

“The statute pointedly does not require that Congress have a legislative purpose to request individual tax returns, but the one given by Chairman Neal is unquestionably legitimate. The President has admitted to tax avoidance schemes which may have been criminal, and was accused by his own personal attorney of actions which amount to tax fraud. I cannot think of a more compelling reason to evaluate the efficacy of the IRS’ presidential audit program.

“The OLC opinion is another alarming example of the Trump Administration’s contempt for the rule of law infecting government agencies which were once independent.”

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