SCOTUS: Congress Can Have Trump's Tax Returns

Court refuses to block release of records to House committee
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 22, 2022 3:05 PM CST
SCOTUS: Congress Can Have Trump's Tax Returns
Former President Donald Trump announces he is running for president for the third time, Nov. 15, 2022.   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

The Supreme Court—without comment or noted dissent—has rejected Donald Trump's request to block the release of his tax records to the House Ways and Means Committee, ending a three-year legal fight. The release was on hold after an emergency appeal from the former president. The Tuesday order clears the way for the Treasury Department to hand over six years of tax returns from Trump and some of his companies to the Democrat-controlled committee, the Washington Post reports. The department refused to provide the tax records while Trump was president, but the Biden administration argued that under federal law, the committee has the right to request the records of any taxpayer and Trump is not exempt, reports the AP.

The move comes as Republicans prepare to retake control of the House in January. "Delaying Treasury from providing the requested tax information would leave the Committee and Congress as a whole little or no time to complete their legislative work during this Congress, which is quickly approaching its end,” House general counsel Douglas N. Letter said in a filing, per the Post. Trump lawyer Cameron Norris argued that while the remaining time was enough for Democrats to "improperly expose the most sensitive documents" of a political rival, it was not enough "to properly study, draft, debate, or pass legislation."

The committee first requested Trump's tax returns in 2019 as part of an investigation of the Internal Revenue Service’s presidential audit program. In a filing last month, Trump's lawyers argued that the request had nothing to do with IRS issues and "everything to do with releasing the President’s tax information to the public." They also argued that releasing the records would "render the office of the Presidency vulnerable to invasive information demands from political opponents in the legislative branch." That argument was rejected by a DC Circuit Court of Appeals panel in August, Politico reports. After leaving office, presidents are subject to the same laws as other citizens, and "this is a feature of our democratic republic, not a bug," wrote Judge David Sentelle, a Ronald Reagan appointee. (Read more Trump tax return stories.)

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