Forcing disclosure of tax returns sets bad precedent | Letter

In recent months, I have heard from a number of my constituents about President Trump’s tax returns. Some believe Congress should focus on other, more pressing issues while others demand that we forcibly release the returns. Recently the Reporter posted a letter calling on me to make his returns public.

I strongly encourage President Trump to release his tax returns. I said so during his campaign and still believe he should. But in America, all citizens’ tax returns are protected by law, just as our homes are protected from unwarranted search and seizure.

The law clearly states tax returns shall be confidential, and campaign traditions do not supersede that. Not following the law sets a bad precedent that could threaten the privacy of all American taxpayers.

I opposed efforts in Congress to forcibly release the President’s returns because it would require an abuse of the authority given to the Ways and Means Committee. The powerful oversight tools of the committee should be used only to ensure that our tax code is being properly administered — not to go on fishing expeditions for political purposes.

If Congress uses its powers to rummage around in the tax returns of the President, what prevents it from doing the same to average Americans? The Ways and Means Committee has never been in the business of targeting the tax returns of individuals – and we are not about to start now.

As a former member of law enforcement, member of Congress, and American citizen, I am committed to protecting the privacy rights of the American people, abiding by and enforcing the law. Those principles will always come before political expediency.

Dave Reichert

8th Congressional District Representative