President Trump sued to block the Democratic-led House Ways and Means Committee from obtaining his tax records from New York state. In the lawsuit, filed Tuesday in federal court in Washington, Trump is attempting to fend off a potential request for the documents under New York’s TRUST Act from the committee’s chairman, Rep. Richard E. Neal (D-Mass.).
“Chairman Neal is facing intense pressure from his fellow Democrats to invoke the TRUST Act and obtain the president’s state tax returns,” Trump said in the complaint. “Succumbing to this pressure, the chairman recently announced that he does not oppose using the TRUST Act and that House counsel was ‘reviewing’ it now.”
Obtaining Trump’s New York state tax returns would only be a partial political win for Democrats, who are hoping to learn more about the president’s finances ahead of the 2020 elections. State tax returns show much of the same information as federal returns about income and tax breaks, but don’t provide much information on out-of-state income or charitable contributions. Trump also sued New York Atty. Gen. Letitia James.
The aim, according to the president’s complaint, is to prevent the state from acting on the recently passed TRUST Act, which compels New York’s taxing department to comply with the House committee’s records request.
The lawsuit comes three weeks after the committee sued to force the U.S. Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service to hand over Trump’s tax records from the last six years. It was filed after Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin rebuffed earlier requests for that information.
The animating purpose of that initial request was exposure of Trump’s private tax information, according to the new complaint. “The State of New York shares this ‘animating purpose’ and is eager to help the committee expose the president’s private tax information,” Trump claims. The TRUST Act was signed into law by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo earlier this month. Both he and James are Democrats.