Not only that.
It could also be a distraction at a time when Biden is trying to push his own agenda through a tightly divided Congress.
Yet, if Democrats suddenly say “it doesn’t matter,” it will not only be embarrassing, but it will infuriate people like Representative Bill Pascrell (DN.J.), head of the House of Ways and Means Subcommittee.
“In a perfect world, we could have mercy – but this is not the ideal world,” said Pascrell, who helped hasten Trump’s return. “Even if he is no longer president, there must be some accountability.”
“We need to move on.”
As Trump makes noise about re-applying in 2024, Democrats may not want to turn down that opportunity.
Biden did not say how he would approach the matter, and a spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.
Democrats have been in court for more than a year, suing to enforce a summons for Trump’s documents under a 1924 law that allowed congressional tax officials to see no one return.
The Trump administration has refused, arguing that Democrats have no good reason to seek documents. The case did not even reach the substance of the complaints of the chairman of House Ways and Means, Richard Neal, with both parties. fighting over whether he had the right to take the White House to court at all.
Separately, several parliamentary committees and Manhattan District Attorney Sai Vance Jr. have also been linked in court, trying to obtain Trump’s tax returns and other financial records from his banks and an accounting firm for various investigations.
But Biden’s finance minister could have given Neil back without anyone outside the government even knowing. In August, as Neil struggled to avoid the main challenge, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Democrats would release the president’s archives if Biden won.
“Then the world will see what the president has been hiding all this time,” she said.
In an email, Neil’s spokesman said he remained focused on his case.
Some are not convinced that Democrats will continue to push for the issue next year, because until then, the policy of releasing Trump’s return could be very different.
He will again be a private citizen who is already facing major investigations by the New York state government. It may not only seem that Democrats are piling up by forcibly releasing Trump’s tax records – it would also be extremely unusual.
Although he has opposed the decades-old tradition of presidents publishing their records, Trump has no legal obligation to produce them, and Congress publishes private tax information about anyone on extremely rare occasions.
It can also mean a lot of work for Democrats.
They have a long list of questions about Trump’s finances and have asked for a huge amount of information about his taxes. But investigating them would be a big undertaking, and it’s unclear whether the Democrats want to spend much of Biden’s first year in office.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if they decided that the Biden administration’s goals would not be achieved by pursuing this,” said Jim Wetzler, a former congressional tax aide and one-time New York tax commissioner.
But many Democrats have long complained that Neil was not aggressive enough in his pursuit of the president. They say they still want to know a lot more about Trump’s finances than was revealed in recent reports by The New York Times, which are based on leaked tax return information.
And they say they still don’t understand how vigorously the IRS has viewed Trump’s return as part of its annual, legally required audits of the president.
“Americans need to know that all taxpayers who are audited by the IRS receive the same partial review – no one is above the law,” Pascrell said.
Moreover, House Democrats want to pass legislation that requires presidential candidates to disclose their tax returns, and it may seem strange to insist on this if they do not provide information to Trump.
There is another possibility: Even after he leaves office, Trump could potentially file a new lawsuit to prevent Democratic congresses from returning. He successfully sued to prevent them, at least temporarily, from taking advantage of a New York state law authorizing officials there to share Trump’s return to New York with Neil.
Although Neil has little interest in using the law, Trump’s lawyers say the Massachusetts Democrat could change his mind without warning and receive the president’s return before he has a chance. act.
Last year, a federal court sided with Trump, saying officials should give him the opportunity to go to court if Neil requests his return. Trump could potentially return to this book with the Treasury to try to prevent his actions at the request of Congress.
“Based on his past behavior, I guess yes, he will probably judge,” said Kerry Kircher, a former chief councilor in the House of Representatives.
“That’s what he does.”