Trump lawyers argue NY tax return law no longer applies to him
Former President Trump’s personal lawyers on Monday urged a federal judge to find that a New York state law on congressional tax return requests no longer pertains to the former president because he’s out of office.
“While the TRUST Act is not the clearest statute, the best reading is that it does not apply to former Presidents,” Trump’s lawyers wrote in a court filing.
New York in 2019 enacted a law, called the TRUST Act, that allows the chairs of Congress’s tax committees to request public officials’ state tax returns. Trump then filed a lawsuit in an effort to prevent the House Ways and Means Committee from obtaining his state tax returns.
Judge Carl Nichols, a federal district court judge in Washington, D.C., appointed by Trump, has ordered the Ways and Means Committee to give the court and Trump’s lawyers contemporaneous notice if it requests Trump’s state tax returns. He also ordered the committee to not receive any requested state tax returns until 14 days after it makes a request.
Trump’s lawyers argued that if Nichols does not determine that the TRUST Act no longer applies to Trump, Nichols should keep this order in place. Trump’s lawyers said that the Ways and Means Committee won’t agree to the proposition that the New York law doesn’t pertain to Trump anymore.
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) has not requested Trump’s state tax returns and has been more focused on obtaining his federal tax returns from the Treasury Department and IRS. Neal’s effort to obtain Trump’s federal tax returns is the subject of a separate lawsuit.
The committee’s lawyers said in Monday’s court filing that they think Nichols’s order doesn’t properly respect the Constitution’s separation of powers principle. They also noted that Trump didn’t pursue any claims challenging the TRUST Act in a New York court once Nichols dismissed New York officials from the lawsuit for lack of jurisdiction.
“That non-action by him should now serve as a clear signal to this Court that he did not and does not have any claim worth pursuing about the New York state statute,” the committee’s lawyers wrote. “This Court should therefore now immediately dismiss this case, leaving plaintiff Trump with whatever remedies he might wish to pursue in an appropriate court against an appropriate defendant.”
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