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Ways and Means chairman sets meeting on Trump taxes

Massachusetts Democrat Richard E. Neal has been tight-lipped on his plans for the sensitive documents

Rep. Richard E. Neal, D-Mass., speaks with a reporter on the House steps after a vote on Tuesday, July 19, 2022.
Rep. Richard E. Neal, D-Mass., speaks with a reporter on the House steps after a vote on Tuesday, July 19, 2022. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House Ways and Means Committee will meet behind closed doors Tuesday on former President Donald Trump’s tax returns.

Chairman Richard E. Neal‘s staff provided notice of the meeting Friday, which will be held in the panel’s hearing room at 3 p.m. on Dec. 20 to review “documents protected under Internal Revenue Code section 6103,” the authority used to obtain the tax records.

The start of the meeting will be open to the public, an aide said, after which panel members will go into closed session.

Citing legal counsel, Neal, D-Mass., has stayed largely mum on his plans for handling the documents since the Supreme Court paved the way for Ways and Means to access six years of Trump’s tax returns after a multi-year legal battle. He hasn’t said whether he will make the information public at any point.

Time is short for Neal to use his gavel to address the issue — which he’s emphasized is an effort to review the IRS auditing process for presidents’ and vice presidents’ tax filings — before Republicans take control of the House next year.

While the GOP opposes the effort, Ways and Means Republicans requested and were granted access to Trump’s tax filings. Neal allowed Republicans to identify staff to view the documents, the panel’s top GOP member, Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas, told reporters this week.

Brady said Republicans made the ask in an effort to set precedent for these sorts of investigations in the future.

He added that the GOP believes access to Trump’s tax returns will end when the new Congress convenes on Jan. 3 and that they’re preparing for the likelihood the committee is not yet formed at that time. Republicans aren’t expected to tap a new chairman or select up to 10 new members to fill open committee seats until after the speaker’s race is decided.

“I am going to continue as I have to follow the law but to see this through,” Neal said Thursday. “I have made that clear.”

Ellyn Ferguson contributed to this report.

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