AG Nominee Won’t Say Whether Future Presidents Can Decline to Enforce Tax Laws

by Ryan Lovelace

Attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch says President Obama’s executive action on immigration is a reasonable use of the president’s executive discretion, but won’t identify the limits of that authority — such as whether a future Republican president could lower taxes by declining to enforce tax laws. 

When Texas senator Ted Cruz asked whether a future president could apply prosecutorial discretion to tax law, Lynch was cagey in response. 

“So you’re unable to give any legal judgment to this committee today on whether a subsequent president could decline to enforce the tax laws as they’re written?” Cruz asked.

“I think with respect to current or subsequent presidential action there would have to be, as in every case, a thorough review of the relevant law, the precedent, congressional precedent, the statutes at issue, in conjunction with whatever action was being proposed to see if there was in fact a legal basis or whether there was not a legal basis for the action being proposed,” Lynch answered.

Cruz followed up to ask whether future presidents could disregard labor and environmental laws via the use of prosecutorial discretion, to which Lynch also didn’t give a direct answer.

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