WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Tuesday cleared the way for the imminent handover of Former President Donald Trump After a three-year legal battle, tax returns were submitted to a congressional committee.
The court, without comment, rejected Trump’s plea for an order that would have prevented the Treasury Department from giving six years of tax returns for Trump and some of his businesses to the Democratic-controlled House Ways and Means Committee.
It was Trump’s second loss to the Supreme Court in two months. In October, the A court refused to join the legal battle over the FBI search of Trump’s Florida estate This led to classified documents being discovered.
The Treasury Department refused to release records during Trump’s presidency because of the dispute about his tax returns. But, the Biden administration stated that federal law provides that the committee is authorized to examine any taxpayer’s return. This includes the president’s.
Lower courts agreed that the committee has broad authority to obtain tax returns and rejected Trump’s claims that it was overstepping and only wanted the documents so they could be made public.
Chief Justice John Roberts ordered a temporary halt on Nov. 1, to allow the court to examine the legal issues raised in Trump’s case and the counter arguments of both the administration and the House of Representatives.
Three weeks later, Roberts’ order was lifted by the court with no noted dissents.
The Trump campaign did in fact not immediately respond to a request to comment.
The House contended an order preventing the IRS from providing the tax returns would leave lawmakers “little or no time to complete their legislative work during this Congress, which is quickly approaching its end.”
Had Trump persuaded the nation’s highest court to intervene, he could have run out the clock on the committee, with Republicans ready to take control of the House in January. If the issue was not resolved by then, they would almost certainly have dropped the records request.
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 Internal Revenue Service “shall furnish” the returns of any taxpayer to a handful of top lawmakers.
Under the Trump administration, the Justice Department had defended Steven Mnuchin’s decision to withhold tax returns from Congress. Mnuchin claimed that he could withhold documents because he concluded that they were being sought out by Democrats for political reasons. A lawsuit ensued.
After President Joe Biden took office, the committee renewed the request, seeking Trump’s tax returns and additional information from 2015-2020. The White House stated that the request was valid and that it was up to the Treasury Department to comply. Trump attempted 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, too, went to the Supreme Court, which rejected Trump’s argument that he had broad immunity as president.