The continuing impasse between House Democrats and President Donald Trump over the release of Trump's personal tax returns could ultimately come down to the decision of Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Charles Rettig, CNN reports. Despite the recent focus on Steven Mnuchin, the treasury secretary, it is ultimately Rettig who bears the responsibility for complying with the Democratic request to turn over the returns.
Before taking the job of IRS commissioner last October, 62-year-old Rettig was a tax attorney in California. For more than 35 years he represented taxpayers in federal and state tax disputes.
Now a previously obscure piece of tax law has put him at the center of the long-running controversy over Trump's returns.
As Inquisitr has reported, Richard Neal, chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, asked the IRS to provide six years of Trump's personal and business tax returns. The request was made based on an infrequently discussed 1924 law that gives heads of congressional tax committees the power to request any tax return in the country, the president's included.
Rettig may or may not agree with the current interpretation of that obligation, but he has expressed disagreement with one part of the situation: that the call is in fact his decision to make. The commissioner has stated in hearings that the decision of whether or not to comply with the congressional request doesn't come down to him, but rather to his boss, Mnuchin.Mnuchin recently asked for more time to consider the legality of fulfilling Neal's request, saying that he was continuing to discuss the matter with lawyers from the Department of Justice. After missing a number of deadlines stated by Congress to deliver the returns, Mnuchin's current extension is supposed to end on Monday.
While Treasury and the White House have maintained that the decision rests with Mnuchin, some Congressional Democrats remain firm in saying that the decision is for Rettig to make. That is based on the claim that Treasury had previously delegated the responsibility for such requests to congressional tax-writing committees and that the protocol is for the heads of those committees to submit requests to the IRS commissioner directly.
As such, patience for some is wearing thin when it comes to Mnuchin's involvement.
"It's your job and your job alone to respond to Chairman Neal's request," said Oregon Senator. Ron Wyden, the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee. His remark was directed to Rettig personally during a hearing in April.