House Democrats ask judge to let lawsuit for Trump's tax returns proceed

House Democrats ask judge to let lawsuit for Trump's tax returns proceed
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House Democrats are urging a federal judge to deny the administration’s motion to dismiss their lawsuit aimed at obtaining President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump alludes to possible 2024 run in White House remarks Trump threatens to veto defense bill over tech liability shield Tiger King's attorney believes they're close to getting pardon from Trump MORE’s federal tax returns.

In a court document filed late Monday, the Democratic-led House Ways and Means Committee argued that if the court accepted the administration’s arguments, it would “drastically” hurt Congress’s ability to obtain information it needs.

“If Defendants’ justiciability arguments were adopted, then Congress, the House, the Senate, and their committees would be irreparably disabled from vindicating their powers to obtain information vital to oversight of the Executive Branch,” lawyers representing the committee wrote.


The Ways and Means Committee filed its lawsuit in July in an effort to get the courts to order the Trump administration to comply with their requests and subpoenas for six years of the president’s personal and business tax returns.

The case is being heard by Judge Trevor McFadden, a federal judge in D.C. who was appointed by Trump.

Earlier this month, the Trump administration, along with the president and his businesses, filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit

Lawyers for the administration and Trump argued that the committee can’t force the federal courts to take a side in their dispute with the administration over a congressional demand for information. The lawyers gave several reasons why they think the lawsuit should be dismissed, including that the committee lacks standing to sue and that the panel lacks a cause of action to enforce their demands for Trump’s tax returns in court.

But the committee argued that the administration and Trump have taken a “radical view of Congressional authority” that the court should reject.

“Defendants present their position as encouraging the Court not to take sides in an inter-branch contest. But Defendants’ position, if accepted, would require the court to definitively side with the Executive Branch — and on issues with far broader implications than the immediate dispute over President Trump’s tax returns,” the House’s lawyers wrote.

The committee argued that it has standing to sue. The administration’s refusal to comply with the committee’s request, made under a section of the tax code, caused the committee an injury, and federal courts have the authority to address the rejection of subpoenas, the committee said.

The committee also claimed that the lawsuit is “consistent with the separation of powers,” because the committee is seeking to protect the House’s power to obtain information necessary for legislation and oversight.

The panel said that there’s no ability for it and the administration to reach a compromise in the tax-return dispute, and only the courts can resolve the matter.

The committee also said it has several causes of action it can use to pursue relief in the court, including Article I of the Constitution, courts’ equity powers and the Administrative Procedure Act.

The committee has the support of a number of legal experts. On Friday, a group of constitutional law scholars filed a friend of the court brief in support of the committee, as did a group of former general counsels and acting general counsels for the House.

The Ways and Means Committee’s lawsuit is one of several lawsuits over Trump’s tax returns. Trump has also filed lawsuits over New York and California laws concerning his tax returns, and he’s filed lawsuits in an effort to block subpoenas for his tax returns issued by House Democrats and the Manhattan district attorney’s office.