Congressman Dave Reichert stated that “all citizens’ tax returns are protected by law … the law clearly states tax returns shall be confidential” and “not following the law sets a bad precedent,” threatening the privacy of all Americans.
Resulting from the 1922 Teapot Dome Scandal, Congress enacted Tax Code Statute 6103 in 1924. This allows three congressional committees — House Ways and Means among them — the right to request that the IRS disclose a private tax return to the committee in cases of possible executive branch conflicts of interest. That doesn’t make those tax returns public; the committee must vote separately to do that.
Reichert asks, “If Congress begins to use its powers to rummage around in the tax returns of the president, what prevents Congress from doing the same to average Americans?” U.S. law protects us “average Americans.” We have no applicable conflicts of interest because we don’t serve in the U.S. government’s executive branch.
As a former member of law enforcement, Reichert should know the law, not misrepresent it in an effort to intimidate his constituency into silence. As part of the House Ways and Means, it’s his responsibility to investigate any executive branch member’s possible conflict of interest. It’s time for him to do his job.