Supreme Court allows release of Trump’s tax returns to House Democrats

WASHINGTON—The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected former President Donald Trump’s final appeal to to block the release of his tax records to House Democrats, paving the way for their eventual disclosure to lawmakers.

The court’s decision in a brief order noting no dissenting votes means the committee can try to access the documents before Republicans take control of the House in January. The committee, however, did not say how quickly it expects to get the documents. Upon takeover, Republicans are expected to withdraw the request.

Earlier this month, Chief Justice John Roberts temporarily blocked the Ways and Means panel from accessing Trump’s tax records while the court decided how to act on Trump’s request.

Trump, who unlike other recent presidents has refused to release his tax returns amid scrutiny of his business dealings, turned to justice after a Washington appeals court refused to intervene. The court recently denied similar claims by Trump.

Lawyers for the former president disputed the House Ways and Means Committee’s claim that it needed the information to probe how the IRS conducts the process of auditing presidents, saying it did not resist to careful scrutiny.

House Democrats, along with the Biden administration, urged the court to reject Trump’s request, saying their request for tax documents reflected a valid legislative purpose.

Former President Donald Trump during an event at his Mar-a-Lago home on November 15, 2022 in Palm Beach, Florida.Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit decreases last month to reconsider a three-judge panel ruling in August that the Ways and Means Committee could obtain the tax returns.

Tax returns are confidential under federal law, but there are a few exceptions, one of which allows the committee chair to request them.

The legal battle began in April 2019, when Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., chairman of the panel, sought feedback from Trump and related business entities. He said he had requested the information as part of the committee’s inquiries into whether the tax laws affecting presidents needed to be changed.

The Treasury Department, then under Trump’s control, refused to comply, saying Neal had no worthwhile purpose, prompting the committee to sue.

After President Joe Biden was elected, the Treasury Department said it would comply last year, but Trump himself objected. A federal judge ruled in December that the request was legal, prompting Trump to appeal.

Among other things, Trump claims not only that the request is invalid, but also that the law is unconstitutional because it is too broad, and that the Biden administration’s decision to release the documents was an unconstitutional form of retaliation that violates Trump’s First Amendment rights.

Democrats have been asking Trump to release his tax returns since the 2016 presidential campaign. Although no law requires presidential candidates to release their tax returns, it has become the norm for Democrats and Republicans alike. to do.

In a separate case, the Trump Organization – Trump’s private company – is on trial over allegations that it was involved in a 15 year plan to compensate senior executives “off the books” to help them evade taxes.

Trump faces other legal battles, including as part of the House committee’s investigation into the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol by his supporters. The committee issued subpoena to obtain Trump’s testimonycalling him to testify on Capitol Hill or by videoconference Monday at 10 a.m. ET.

Although the Supreme Court has a 6-3 conservative majority, including three justices he appointed, Trump has not done well recently in other such emergency demands, including his attempt to prevent White House documents delivered to House committee on January 6 and his attempt to avoid disclose his financial records to New York prosecutors. More recently, the court last month rejected Trump’s request that a special master be allowed to review classified documents seized from his Mar-a-Lago residence in Palm Beach, Florida.

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