U.S. House committee seeks Trump tax returns from IRS

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal has asked the Internal Revenue Service to provide six years of President Donald Trump's personal and business tax returns.

"We have completed the necessary groundwork for a request of this magnitude and I am certain we are within our legitimate legislative, legal, and oversight rights," Neal said in a statement on Wednesday announcing the request.

Neal, who is the only House of Representatives member authorized by law to request Trump's returns, has been under pressure to act from some Democratic lawmakers and outside groups.

U.S. Treasury officials were not immediately available for comment.

Trump defied decades of precedent as a presidential candidate by refusing to release the tax documents and has continued to keep them under wraps as president, saying his returns were under audit by the IRS.

Democrats hope that obtaining the returns will allow them to identify any conflicts of interest posed by Trump’s global business empire.

Republicans oppose the effort, saying such a move would set a dangerous precedent by turning the confidential tax documents of a U.S. citizen into a political weapon.

(Reporting by David Morgan and Doina Chiacu; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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Donald Trump visits a military tank plant in Lima, Ohio
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Donald Trump visits a military tank plant in Lima, Ohio
US President Donald Trump disembarks from Air Force One upon arrival at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, on March 20, 2019, after traveling to Ohio to visit a military manufacturing facility and attend a fundraiser. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump, center, speaks at the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center in Lima, Ohio, U.S., on Wednesday, March 20, 2019. Trump on Wednesday visited a thriving military factory in politically vital Ohio, a symbol of his success at enlarging the U.S. defense budget, as he sought to turn attention from his inability to return jobs to a failing car plant elsewhere in the state. Photographer: Maddie McGarvey/Bloomberg via Getty Images
U.S. President Donald Trump gestures to attendees at the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center in Lima, Ohio, U.S., on Wednesday, March 20, 2019. Trump on Wednesday visited a thriving military factory in politically vital Ohio, a symbol of his success at enlarging the U.S. defense budget, as he sought to turn attention from his inability to return jobs to a failing car plant elsewhere in the state. Photographer: Maddie McGarvey/Bloomberg via Getty Images
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center in Lima, Ohio, U.S., on Wednesday, March 20, 2019. Trump on Wednesday visited a thriving military factory in politically vital Ohio, a symbol of his success at enlarging the U.S. defense budget, as he sought to turn attention from his inability to return jobs to a failing car plant elsewhere in the state. Photographer: Maddie McGarvey/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Attendees listen while U.S. President Donald Trump, not pictured, speaks at the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center in Lima, Ohio, U.S., on Wednesday, March 20, 2019. Trump on Wednesday visited a thriving military factory in politically vital Ohio, a symbol of his success at enlarging the U.S. defense budget, as he sought to turn attention from his inability to return jobs to a failing car plant elsewhere in the state. Photographer: Maddie McGarvey/Bloomberg via Getty Images
US President Donald Trump speaks after touring the Lima Army Tank Plant at Joint Systems Manufacturing in Lima, Ohio, March 20, 2019. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Attendees stand during the Pledge of Allegiance at an event with U.S. President Donald Trump at the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center in Lima, Ohio, U.S., on Wednesday, March 20, 2019. Trump on Wednesday visited a thriving military factory in politically vital Ohio, a symbol of his success at enlarging the U.S. defense budget, as he sought to turn attention from his inability to return jobs to a failing car plant elsewhere in the state. Photographer: Maddie McGarvey/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Jon Husted, lieutenant governor of Ohio, speaks during an event with U.S. President Donald Trump at the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center in Lima, Ohio, U.S., on Wednesday, March 20, 2019. Trump on Wednesday visited a thriving military factory in politically vital Ohio, a symbol of his success at enlarging the U.S. defense budget, as he sought to turn attention from his inability to return jobs to a failing car plant elsewhere in the state. Photographer: Maddie McGarvey/Bloomberg via Getty Images
U.S. President Donald Trump applauds while arriving to speak at the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center in Lima, Ohio, U.S., on Wednesday, March 20, 2019. Trump on Wednesday visited a thriving military factory in politically vital Ohio, a symbol of his success at enlarging the U.S. defense budget, as he sought to turn attention from his inability to return jobs to a failing car plant elsewhere in the state. Photographer: Maddie McGarvey/Bloomberg via Getty Images
U.S. President Donald Trump gestures while arriving to speak at the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center in Lima, Ohio, U.S., on Wednesday, March 20, 2019. Trump on Wednesday visited a thriving military factory in politically vital Ohio, a symbol of his success at enlarging the U.S. defense budget, as he sought to turn attention from his inability to return jobs to a failing car plant elsewhere in the state. Photographer: Maddie McGarvey/Bloomberg via Getty Images
US President Donald Trump boards Air Force One prior to departure from Lima Allen County Airport in Lima, Ohio, March 20, 2019, as he travels to visit a military manufacturing facility and attend a fundraiser. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
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