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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), chairman of the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee, today questioned Steven Mnuchin, Secretary of the Department of the Treasury, on releasing tax returns to Congress.

Click here or the photo below to watch the hearing.

Here is a transcript of their conversation:

Sen. Kennedy: “Do you think we should have a precedent, to put it in real-world terms, and I’ll put it in personal terms?  Let’s say I’m interested in the IRS, and I’m interested in what kind of job it’s doing. So I think I’d like to see, as a United States Senator, some tax returns.  Let me think.  How about you send me all the tax returns from every candidate among my Democratic friends running for president of the United States.  Now, I’m not interested in it for political reasons.  I just want to study the IRS, and I think I’ll start with these returns.  How much confidence do you think the American people will have in the Internal Revenue Service and the privacy concerns if we start doing that in this country?”

Secretary Mnuchin: “Well, Mr. Chairman, I think it would be very dangerous to provide you with those returns.  I think it would also be very dangerous to provide you with returns of large Democrats or Republicans who make political gifts or leaders of industry or leaders of the labor union.  Our concern is, and the Nixon Administration did try to weaponize the IRS, so as I’ve said, this is an unprecedented issue.  It’s a very complicated issue.  I take very seriously my obligation to follow the law, and that is why I consulted with the Department of Justice, and we will proceed on what is a very important issue to the American taxpayers.”