US Supreme Court paves path to obtain Trump’s tax returns

The decision concludes a three-year legal battle over efforts to obtain the former president’s taxes.

The US Supreme Court on Tuesday cleared the way for the impending release of former President Donald Trump’s tax returns to a congressional committee after a three-year legal fight.

The court, without comment, denied Trump’s request for an order that would have prevented the US Treasury Department from turning over six years of tax returns for Trump and some of his businesses to the House Ways and Means Committee. of Representatives, controlled by the Democrats.

It was Trump’s second Supreme Court loss in as many months. In October, the court declined to intervene in the legal fight surrounding a search of Trump’s property in Florida by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that turned up classified documents.

In the dispute over his tax returns, the Treasury had refused to provide the records during the Trump presidency. But the Biden administration said federal law is clear that the committee has the right to examine any taxpayer’s tax return, including the president’s.

The lower courts agreed that the committee has broad authority to obtain tax returns, and they dismissed Trump’s claims that the committee was overreaching and only wanted the documents so they could be made public.

Chief Justice John Roberts imposed a temporary freeze on November 1 to allow the court to weigh legal issues raised by Trump’s lawyers and counter-arguments by the administration and the US House of Representatives.

Just over three weeks later, the court lifted Roberts’ order with no discrepancy noted.

The House held that an order preventing the IRS from providing tax returns would leave lawmakers “little or no time to complete their legislative work during this rapidly approaching Congress.” to its end”.

Had Trump persuaded the nation’s highest court to intervene, he could have run out of time in committee, with Republicans poised to seize control of the House in January. They would almost certainly have abandoned the logs request 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 compliance. of the tax law by the former president.

A federal law says the Internal Revenue Service “must provide” any taxpayer’s returns to a handful of top 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 could withhold the documents because he concluded that Democrats were seeking them for partisan reasons. A lawsuit ensued.

After President Joe Biden took office, the committee renewed the request, seeking Trump’s tax returns and additional information from 2015 to 2020. The White House took the position that the request was valid and that Treasury had no no choice but to comply. Trump then tried to stop the delivery 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 made its way to the Supreme Court, which rejected Trump’s argument that he had broad immunity as president.