Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) said on Sunday that the release of former President Trump’s tax returns during the years he ran and held office set a “dangerous new precedent.”
“This is a dangerous new precedent, it overturns 50 years of protections for American taxpayers that began in the Watergate era,” Brady said on “Fox News Sunday.”
Brady, who is a member of the House Ways and Means Committee which oversees the U.S. tax code, said the release shows that committee leaders have “nearly unlimited power to target private citizens.”
Brady, a former chairman of the committee who is one of several members leaving Congress this year, said such power could be used in the future to embarrass or destroy someone politically.
“Every American ought to be frightened by this precedent, because as I said, the enemy’s list is back, and you may well find yourself on it,” Brady said without specifying who would be on such a list.
On Friday, the Ways and Means Committee released six years of the former president’s business and individual tax returns, including 46 documents with hundreds of pages that showed Trump’s businesses operating at a loss.
Trump claimed during his 2016 campaign and during his presidency that he could not release his tax returns, as is customary, because he had been under an audit.
The release of the returns from the committee, however, showed no audits had been conducted during the first two years of his presidency, as is mandatory. No audits that began in the latter part of Trump’s term have been completed.
Brady maintained that Trump had been under audit for all six years covered by the release.
“So to my point, all of those six years that have been released, are still under audit. And the truth matters. It isn’t about whether he should release them or not. It is whether Americans should be targeted by members of Congress for political purposes, and having a private taxpayer’s returns released and made public,” Brady said.