Two Alabama Republican congressmen are criticizing House Democrats after the Ways and Means Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives released former President Donald Trump’s tax returns.  

The release came after the tax-writing committee investigated the Mandatory Audit Program through the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which is supposed to conduct mandatory audits on sitting presidents.

The committee said the program was “dormant, at best” during Trump's administration since the IRS only conducted one audit during his time in office. The released documents contained thousands of pages of Trump's tax returns from 2015 through 2020.

Although Congress has the authority to obtain and release private tax returns, it is a rare occurrence. 

For years, Trump has resisted calls to release his tax returns, fighting attempts in court. Last month, the Supreme Court ordered Trump to give his returns to the committee as part of their IRS investigation. 

The committee’s decision to release the returns brought the ire of GOP lawmakers, with several criticizing the committee’s decision to target Trump under the auspices of an inquiry into IRS protocol. 

Outgoing U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville), who has had a contentious relationship with Trump in recently, took to Twitter to voice his disgust at the leak, calling it evil.

U.S. Rep. Barry Moore (R-Enterprise) also blasted the House committee, suggesting distorted priorities on behalf of the committee. 

Democratic committee members claim the release shows a failure on the part of the IRS that will require future congressional action.

“The Committee expected that these mandatory audits were being conducted promptly and in accordance with IRS policies,” said Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass). “However, our review found that under the prior Administration the program was dormant. We know now, the first mandatory audit was opened two years into his presidency. On the same day this Committee requested his returns.” 

The GOP wing of the committee called the decision “dangerous” and “reckless,” mainly because the returns contained personal identifying information of several individuals, including a minor.

“Committee Republicans are concerned that this politically motivated action unleashes a dangerous new political weapon reaching far beyond the former President and overturns decades of privacy protections for average Americans,” Committee Republicans wrote in the minority report.

“Going forward, the new precedent is that the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee have nearly unlimited power to target and make public the tax returns of private citizens, political enemies, business or labor leaders, or even Supreme Court justices. No party in Congress should hold that power. No individual should hold the power to embarrass, harass, or destroy a private citizen through disclosure of their tax returns.”

The former president didn’t seem fazed by the release, taking the opportunity to – yet again – boast of his superior business acumen.

“The ‘Trump’ tax returns once again show how proudly successful I have been and how I have been able to use depreciation and various other tax deductions as an incentive for creating thousands of jobs and magnificent structures and enterprises,” Trump said in a statement.

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