Trump asks Supreme Court to keep tax returns from House committee
Former President Trump is going to the Supreme Court, again, this time to try to stop his tax returns from being handed to a congressional committee.
In an emergency appeal filed Monday, Trump wants the court to order at least a temporary hold on the Treasury Department turning over his returns to the Democratic-controlled House Ways and Means Committee.
Trump said the handover could happen as soon as Thursday, without the court’s intervention.
Lower courts ruled that the committee has broad authority to obtain tax returns and rejected Trump’s claims that it was overstepping.
Trump had most recently sought the justices’ intervention in a legal dispute stemming from the search of his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida in August. The court rejected that appeal.
If Trump can persuade the nation’s highest court to intervene in this case, he could potentially delay a final decision until the start of the next Congress in January. If Republicans recapture control of the House in the fall election, they could drop the records request.
The Justice Department can bring in extra prosecutors, and public defenders can be brought on to help with defense. But there is a finite amount of time and a finite number of judges.
The House Ways and Means panel and its chairman, Democrat Richard Neal of Massachusetts, first requested Trump’s tax returns in 2019 as part of an investigation into the Internal Revenue Service’s audit program and tax law compliance by the former president. A federal law says the IRS “shall furnish” the returns of any taxpayer to a handful of top lawmakers.
The Justice Department, under the Trump administration, had defended a decision by then-Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin to withhold the tax returns from Congress. Mnuchin argued that he could withhold the documents because he concluded they were being sought by Democrats for partisan reasons. A lawsuit ensued.
After President Biden took office, the committee renewed the request, seeking Trump’s tax returns and additional information from 2015-20. The White House took the position that the request was a valid one and that the Treasury Department had no choice but to comply. Trump then attempted to halt the handover in court.
Then-Manhattan Dist. Atty. Cyrus Vance Jr. obtained copies of Trump’s personal and business tax records as part of a criminal investigation. That case, too, went to the Supreme Court, which rejected Trump’s argument that he had broad immunity as president.
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