A U.S. House of Representatives committee voted on Tuesday to release partially redacted tax filings from former President Donald Trump, which could lead to more unwelcome scrutiny for the former president as he mounts another White House bid.
The House Ways and Means Committee voted to release a summary of Trump’s tax returns between 2015 and 2021, the years when he was running for president and serving in the White House, panel members said.
Committee chairman Richard Neal, a Democrat, said the documents would be released within days, after sensitive material had been redacted. Democrats have little time to act, as Republicans are set to take control of the House in January.
It was not clear whether the material would shed light on potential conflicts between Trump’s real-estate holdings and his actions as president, or how much tax he paid while president. Lawmakers said the returns were scant on details.
“I think you’ll be surprised by how little there is,” Democratic Representative Lloyd Doggett told CNN.
Kevin Brady, the panel’s top Republican, told reporters that some of those returns were still being audited by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, so it was not clear how much tax Trump owed. Like other committee Republicans, he voted against their release on the grounds that it could set a bad precedent.
Trump, unlike previous presidential candidates, refused to make his tax returns public as he sought to keep secret the details of his wealth and the activities of his real estate company, the Trump Organization, and he fought Democrats’ efforts to get access to them.
Candidates are not required by law to release their tax returns, but previous presidential hopefuls of both parties have voluntarily done so for several decades.
Democrats on the committee said they need to see those records to assess whether the Internal Revenue Service is properly auditing presidential tax returns and to gauge whether new legislation is needed.
Trump, who served as president from 2017 to 2021, reported heavy losses from his business enterprises over several years to offset hundreds of millions of dollars in income, according to news media reporting and trial testimony about his finances. That allowed him to pay very little in taxes.
The Trump Organization was found guilty on December 6 in New York of carrying out a 15-year criminal scheme to defraud tax authorities. The company faces up to $1.6 million in fines, though Trump himself is not personally liable. He has said the case was politically motivated and the company plans to appeal.
He also faces a separate fraud suit in New York that accuses him of artificially inflating the value of his assets.
During his presidency, he faced persistent questions about conflicts of interest, as foreign dignitaries and Republican Party officials spent money in his luxury hotels.