Court Battles

Trump asks Supreme Court to block release of his taxes to House

Former President Trump filed an emergency appeal with the Supreme Court Monday after a lower court declined to reverse its ruling mandating that he turn over his tax records to the House Ways and Means Committee. 

Trump on Thursday lost his latest bid to block the panel from accessing his records after the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals declined to reconsider a unanimous August ruling from one of the court’s three-judge panels ordering their release.

House Democrats have been seeking the records for years, saying they need to probe how the IRS conducts its routine presidential audits, while Trump’s attorneys have argued the matter is purely political. 

“The Committee’s purpose in requesting President Trump’s tax returns has nothing to do with funding or staffing issues at the IRS and everything to do with releasing the President’s tax information to the public,” Trump’s attorneys wrote in the filing. 

The emergency filing comes after Democratic lawmakers celebrated the lower court’s Thursday decision to not take further action.

“The law has always been on our side,” House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) said in a statement. “Former President Trump has tried to delay the inevitable, but once again, the Court has affirmed the strength of our position. We’ve waited long enough—we must begin our oversight of the IRS’s mandatory presidential audit program as soon as possible.”

The panel’s oversight subcommittee chairman echoed that sentiment, with Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) noting it has been 1,303 days — “nearly as long as the Civil War” — since the committee first requested the records.

Presidents and vice presidents have undergone such auditing since 1977. Federal tax law also requires Treasury Department officials to hand over individual tax returns upon receiving a written request from the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. 

Trump’s lawyers had argued that the law is unconstitutional and that compliance with the request would pose First Amendment and separation of powers concerns. 

The August ruling that Trump is seeking to overturn determined that the request was well within the committee’s purpose, as it was “made in furtherance of a subject upon which legislation could be had.”

“Further, the Request did not violate separation of powers principles under any of the potentially applicable tests primarily because the burden on the Executive Branch and the Trump Parties is relatively minor,” Judge David Sentelle, an appointee of former President Reagan, wrote in the opinion.

The Monday request from Trump’s attorneys came as his legal team gave opening statements in New York in a separate case accusing both the Trump Corporation and Trump Payroll Corp. of helping executives avoid paying taxes by offering off-the-books perks.

His company is also facing another civil lawsuit filed by the New York attorney general for financial fraud, a matter the state also referred to the IRS.

Updated at 1:54 p.m.

Tags Donald Trump

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