Supreme Court OKs handover of Donald Trump tax returns to Congress

WASHINGTON, DC– The Supreme Court on Tuesday cleared the way for the upcoming submission of former President Donald Trump’s tax returns to a congressional committee after a three-year legal battle.

The court dismissed without comment Trump’s plea for an injunction that would have prevented the Treasury Department from filing tax returns for Trump and some of his companies to the Democrat-controlled House Ways and Means Committee for six years.

It was Trump’s second Supreme Court defeat in as many months. In October, the court refused to intervene in litigation over the FBI search of Trump’s Florida home, which uncovered classified documents.

In the dispute over his tax returns, the Treasury Department refused to release the documents during Trump’s presidency. But the Biden administration said federal law is clear that the committee has the right to review any taxpayer’s declaration, including that of the president.

Lower courts agreed that the committee has sweeping powers to collect tax returns, dismissing Trump’s claims that it overstepped its bounds and only wanted the documents so they could be made public.

Chief Justice John Roberts imposed a temporary freeze on Nov. 1 to allow the court to consider legal issues raised by Trump’s attorneys and counterarguments from the administration and the House of Representatives.

A little over three weeks later, the court overturned Roberts’ order with no apparent discrepancy.

The House claimed an order preventing the IRS from providing the returns would leave lawmakers “little if no time to complete their legislative work during this Congress, which is fast approaching its conclusion.”

Had Trump persuaded the nation’s highest court to intervene, he could have let the committee’s clock tick down while Republicans were poised to take control of the House of Representatives in January. They would almost certainly have dropped the request for records if the issue hadn’t been resolved by then.

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 the former president’s compliance with tax laws. A federal law states that the Internal Revenue Service is to “deliver” the returns of all taxpayers to a handful of senior lawmakers.

The Justice Department under the Trump administration had defended a decision by then Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to withhold tax returns from Congress. Mnuchin argued that he was able to withhold the documents because he concluded they were wanted by Democrats on partisan grounds. A court case followed.

After President Joe Biden took office, the committee renewed the request, asking for Trump’s tax returns and additional information from 2015 to 2020. The White House took the position that the request was valid and the Treasury Department had no choice but to comply. Trump then tried to stop the handover in court.

Then-Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. obtained copies of Trump’s personal and business tax records as part of a criminal investigation. That case also went to the Supreme Court, which rejected Trump’s argument that he had broad immunity as president.

Copyright © 2022 WABC-TV. All rights reserved. Supreme Court OKs handover of Donald Trump tax returns to Congress

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