The House Ways and Means Committee has long sought the returns, only to be stymied by federal officials.
Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), chairman of the panel, has said he wanted six years of Trump’s tax returns as part of a possible adjustment of federal law concerning tax policies.
The attempt was blocked by the Treasury Department during the Trump administration.
The Department of Justice previously said that refusal did not violate the law, but under a new president is saying officials must hand the returns over to Neal.
“When one of the congressional tax committees requests tax information pursuant to section 6103(f)(1), and has invoked facially valid reasons for its request, the Executive Branch should conclude that the request lacks a legitimate legislative purpose only in exceptional circumstances. The Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee has invoked sufficient reasons for requesting the former President’s tax information. Under section 6103(f)(1), Treasury must furnish the information to the Committee,” Dawn Johnsen, acting assistant attorney general for the department’s Office of Legal Counsel, wrote in a memorandum (pdf).
The same office ruled in 2019 that Neal’s panel was “disingenuous about its true objective” in seeking Trump’s returns, asserting Neal appeared prepared to “expose” the documents if they were obtained. That decision was wrong, Johnsen said.
“As I have maintained for years, the Committee’s case is very strong and the law is on our side. I am glad that the Department of Justice agrees and that we can move forward,” Neal told news outlets in a statement.
Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Various Democrats after Trump was elected in 2016 launched efforts to obtain his tax returns, which he has refused to release to the public.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. obtained them in February after the Supreme Court declined to intervene.
“In our judicial system, ‘the public has a right to every man’s evidence.’ Since the earliest days of the Republic, ‘every man’ has included the president of the United States,” Chief Justice John Roberts, a George W. Bush nominee, said at the time.
Trump has called investigations such as Vance’s a continuation of “a political Witch Hunt” against him, referring to the long-running probe that examined whether he or his associates colluded with Russia to affect the 2016 election.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller found no evidence of collusion.