Republican ranking member of the House Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Kevin Brady (Texas), warned of the potential ramifications if the Committee decides to make former President Donald Trump’s tax returns public.
Brady made his comments before the Committee entered a closed-door session to discuss the former Presidents returns, noting that a move like that could set a precedent that could eventually lead to lawmakers making the tax returns of Supreme Court judges public.
He explained that deciding to release the returns of a private citizen could become a “dangerous political weapon” that would give the chairman of the House and Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance “unlimited power” to pursue private citizens by making their tax returns public.
Speaking at a news conference, Brady asserted it wouldn’t just be “private citizens” that could be targeted by the precedent, but “political enemies” business leaders, labor leaders, and Supreme Court justices.
Brady insisted that an individual or party in Congress shouldn’t have that power, describing it as a power to “embarrass, to harass or destroy Americans” by publicly releasing their tax returns.
The closed-door session continued until Tuesday evening, with the result being the Committee deciding to release Trump’s returns as part of a package to Congress.
The decision was reached by lawmakers voting along party lines, with all Republicans (16) voting no and all Democrats (24) voting yes.
The decision to release Trump’s tax returns comes after years of to and fro in the court, which eventually led to an order from the Supreme Court, paving the way for the Committee to access the former President’s returns.