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The Supreme Court Has Cleared the Way for the House Committee to Receive Trump’s Tax Returns

Donald Trump stands in front of the microphone and grimaces while looking to the right. In 2016, Donald Trump delivered a speech at a rally in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Tuesday, the Supreme Court denied Donald Trump’s bid to stop the release of his tax returns to a congressional committee. The short order opens the door for the House Committee on Ways and Means to get six years’ worth of Trump and his firms’ federal tax returns. The Supreme Court Has Cleared the Way for the House Committee.

No justice voiced opposition, and the court gave no explanation for its decision. The order is the most recent—and maybe last—episode in a protracted legal battle that started in 2019 when the Ways and Means Committee, chaired by Democrats, requested the IRS turn over Trump’s tax returns.

The committee stated that it intends to utilize the documents to shape any future legislation regarding how current presidents are treated by the federal tax code. A federal law, 26 U.S.C. 6103(f), which permits the committee to receive “any return or return information” from the IRS, including tax returns for individual taxpayers, was also cited by the committee in its request for the records.

The Department of the Treasury refuses to release the returns during the Trump administration. The Treasury Department didn’t agree to hand them up until after President Joe Biden took office in January 2021. Trump nevertheless requested a federal court judge to prevent the committee from learning about the tax returns.

He stated that the committee’s request for the information lacked any justification and that the underlying goal of the request was to reveal Trump’s financial situation and gather proof to use against him in a criminal trial. Trump appointee U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden rendered a decision that was overturned by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

On October 31, Trump went to the Supreme Court and pleaded with the judges to get involved. He argued that providing the committee with his tax returns would go against the Supreme Court’s ruling in Trump v. Mazars, a case from 2020 in which various congressional committees sought Trump’s financial information. In Mazars, the court determined that such requests have to be justified by an appropriate legislative goal.

The committee and the Biden administration pleaded with the justices to avoid getting involved in the conflict. They emphasized that the Supreme Court has traditionally ruled that courts should only consider whether Congress’ proposal has a legitimate legislative purpose and not what other factors may have motivated it.

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Additionally, the committee stated that if the disclosure of Trump’s tax returns was postponed, it would “give the Committee and Congress as a whole little or no time to accomplish their legislative work” before the current Congress adjourns on January 3, 2023.

A decision in favor of Trump on the merits would also make it far more challenging for Congress to carry out its duties because it would never be allowed to look into a former president “whenever there are claims that the probe was politically motivated,” the committee said. Howe on the Court originally published this piece.

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