Top House Republican Seeks Probe Into Source of Trump Tax Documents

By Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen is an award-winning journalist. She holds a master's in newspaper journalism from City, University of London.
September 29, 2020Updated: September 29, 2020

Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) on Sept. 28 called for an investigation into the source of a report published on Sept. 27 that claimed President Donald Trump paid only $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017.

In a statement, Brady, the top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee, said there’s the “prospect” of a felony crime in the leaking of the president’s tax information to The New York Times, which published the report.

“While many critics question the article’s accuracy, equally troubling is the prospect that a felony crime was committed by releasing the private tax return information of an individual—in this case, the President’s,” Brady said on Sept. 28.

“To ensure every American is protected against the illegal release of their tax returns for political reasons, I am calling for an investigation of the source and to prosecute if the law was broken.”

The New York Times didn’t immediately respond to a request by The Epoch Times for comment.

The paper on Sept. 27 reported that Trump paid the sum in the year he won the presidency and in his first year in the Oval Office. The paper said it obtained the long-sought-after tax information for the president, alleging that he paid no federal income taxes in 11 of the 18 years it examined, saying he suffered overall financial losses.

The publication said its sources had legal access to the documents, and denied a request by a lawyer for the Trump Organization for access, to protect the identities of the sources.

The day after its publication, Trump and the White House dismissed the report’s claims as inaccurate.

Epoch Times Photo
President Donald Trump speaking during a news conference at the White House on Sept. 27, 2020. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

“It’s fake news. It’s totally fake news,” Trump told reporters at a White House press briefing after he was asked about the report.

“Made up. Fake.”

The president, repeating an assertion he’s made a number of times over the last few years, said he’s unable to release his financial records because he’s being audited by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

“It’s under audit. They’ve been under audit for a long time,” he said. “The IRS does not treat me well.”

Trump added, “When they’re not [under audit], I would be proud to show [them].”

The president said he paid a considerable amount of taxes over the years. “First of all, I paid a lot,” he said. “I paid a lot of state income taxes too. New York State charges a lot.”

That information will be released in due time, Trump said, adding that it will only be done when the audit is finished.

“It’ll all be revealed,” he said. “I look forward to releasing many things. I’m going to release many things and people will be really shocked.”

“The IRS does not treat me well. They treat me like the Tea Party,” he said, referring to the IRS targeting Republican-leaning groups during the Obama administration.

Trump Organization lawyer Alan Garten issued a statement to the news outlet over the alleged tax records, saying that “most, if not all, of the facts appear to be inaccurate.”

“Over the past decade, President Trump has paid tens of millions of dollars in personal taxes to the federal government, including paying millions in personal taxes since announcing his candidacy in 2015,” Garten said in the statement.

Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.), a fellow member on the House Ways and Means Committee, echoed Brady’s concerns in a Sept. 28 statement on Twitter.

“The unethical, perhaps illegal, leaking of any American’s tax returns is a stunning breach of public trust. That doesn’t change because it happened to @realDonaldTrump. The joint political hit piece between the New York Times and Democrats just weeks before an election shows no wrong doing by @POTUS but leaves Americans wondering if their own private tax information can be weaponized against them for political gain,” he said.

“There must be an investigation into who turned over confidential tax records to the press to determine if the law was broken.”

Jack Phillips contributed to this report.