"The provision Rep. Neal is using is a specific statutory exception from that disclosure prohibition. That exception says that the secretary of the Treasury (or his delegate) “shall furnish” the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee with any tax return or return information requested in writing."
"Shall." It all comes down to the meaning of this word.
"A reading of the plain language of the tax code indicates that Congress does in fact have the legal authority to request and obtain tax information from any filer, including the president... The statute says the IRS “shall furnish” tax returns to the committee chair upon request and that’s the end of it...
This is not an issue on which there is any possibility of reasonable disagreement. Any well-informed person who disagrees either that the Ways and Means Committee has an obligation to demand Trump’s tax returns as part of fulfilling its oversight duties or that Trump is legally obliged to turn them over is either a partisan hack or contemptuous of the rule of law."
The word "shall" has a very significant meaning in American law. It means that there is no choice; that the order must be complied with. Now, the corrupt Trump justice department is claiming that this is not what the word means at all.
Well, here is a suggestion. In all fairness, I must reveal that this idea came from my son, Max, but it is a great idea. If this is the new meaning of the word, I think it is time that Democrats take the opportunity to reconsider the phrase "shall not be abridged."
That should be an interesting conversation.