The Supreme Court on Tuesday denied President Trump’s request to protect his tax returns from being submitted to a House committee.
The decision came in a one-line order with no opposition.
The court’s lawsuit means that a long-standing claim by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) is upheld by Trump’s tax returns for six years. Neal was acting under a law that says the Internal Revenue Service “provides” the committee chair “any return or return information” that he has requested in writing.
The law does not permit the public release of tax returns, including those of a former president. Rather, the Ways and Means Committee has the authority to review the Statements in confidence in order to review new or revised legislation.
But the long legal battle is ending just as Democrats are on the verge of losing control of the House of Representatives, raising doubts as to whether Neal’s Republican successor will continue the effort.
Trump and his attorneys had already lost before a Trump-appointed federal district judge and an appellate court with two Republican-appointed representatives.
Trump, who announced last week that he would run for president in 2024, filed an emergency motion asking judges to step in and stop the IRS from sharing his tax records with the committee.
Trump’s legal team argued that doing so would “undermine the separation of powers” and put all future presidents at risk of having their private tax returns exposed by political opponents in Congress.
“No previous Congress has used its legislative power to obtain and disclose a president’s private financial information,” they said in their last appeal on Nov. 14.
They also argued that House Democrats were out of time.
“The old Congress has only a few days left in its legislative calendar. Although a few days is enough time to inappropriately disclose his key political rival’s most sensitive documents, it is not enough time to properly study, draft, debate or pass legislation,” Trump’s legal team said.
Two years ago, the Supreme Court made a separate decision when considering two cases involving Trump’s taxes.
In the first, the judges paved the way for New York prosecutors to obtain Trump’s returns, and those records played a role in civil and criminal charges brought against his real estate organization.
In the second case, the court blocked subpoenas from three House committees seeking financial records from the then president, his family and his corporations.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. cited the “separation of powers” and questioned whether House Democrats had legitimate legal grounds to seek personal information from the CEO.
Trump’s attorneys cited that decision in Trump vs. Mazars in their lawsuit to prevent Neal from obtaining the ex-president’s paperwork from the firm that prepared his corporations’ taxes.
Since 1977, presidents had routinely released their tax returns, but Trump refused to do so. And while the IRS’s policy was to carefully scrutinize the president’s tax returns, Neal said the committee had doubts the agency had probed Trump’s far-flung holdings.
“Unlike his predecessors, Mr. Trump owned a complex corporate network, did international business and had a history of aggressive tax avoidance (as he boasted),” House attorneys said in court.
In 2019, Trump’s Treasury Secretary rejected Neal’s request for Trump’s tax returns, arguing it was more of a political ploy than an effort by Congress to probe the need for new legislation.
After Trump was defeated in 2020, Neal submitted a new motion, which was approved by the new Biden administration.
Trump then went to court and tried to block the release.
Trump-appointed US District Judge Trevor McFadden dismissed his lawsuit last December, and the US Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington upheld that decision 3-0 in August.
McFadden warned that his ruling did not authorize the public release of Trump’s taxes.
“Disclosure of someone else’s tax returns is a serious offense, and past committee chairs have wisely opposed ‘using the law’ to ‘release individuals’ tax returns,'” he wrote.
https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2022-11-22/supreme-court-turns-down-trumps-plea-to-shield-his-taxes-from-house-democrats Supreme Court rejects Trump plea to shield taxes from House