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Supreme Court Blocks Congress From Receiving Trump Documents

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The House Ways and Means Committee has been attempting to get former President Donald Trump’s tax returns for some time. Since quite some time, decisions and objections have been moving back and forth.

CNN reported that the committee filed a lawsuit to acquire Trump’s federal tax returns for 2015 through 2020 after then-Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin denied the committee’s request. As part of an inquiry into how the Internal Revenue Service examines presidential tax returns, this committee requested Trump’s tax documents and those of linked business companies.

In December 2017, Trump-appointed federal court judge Trevor McFadden in Washington, D.C., decided that the Treasury Department was required to provide the requested tax returns. Trump subsequently filed an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit against McFadden’s finding.

A three-judge panel of that appeals court voted unanimously against Trump in August. The panel stated that although tax returns are normally confidential under federal law, there is an exemption when the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee seeks them in writing from the secretary of the Treasury Department. “The Chairman has identified a legitimate legislative purpose that it requires information to accomplish,” Judge David Sentelle wrote in the panel’s opinion. “At this stage, it is not our place to delve deeper than this.”

The former secretary of the Treasury, Mnuchin, stated that the panel lacked a valid legislative function.

If Republicans reclaim majority control of the House of Representatives in the next midterm elections, the simmering conflict may be resolved. If this occurs and the matter remains unresolved, it is believed that the Republican-controlled House would stop the Ways and Means Committee’s three-year effort to get Trump’s tax returns.

In the meanwhile, Tuesday’s midterm elections loom as the IRS’s attempt to get tax returns by Thursday, before votes close on Tuesday, drags the problem to the eleventh hour.

Former President Trump requested the Supreme Court on Monday to stop a judge’s order that the IRS provide the Ways and Means Committee with years of his tax returns later this week. Previously, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals had ordered their return. Trump’s attorneys contended that the D.C. ordinance was unconstitutional. If allowed to stand, the ruling against Trump will “undermine the separation of powers and make the Presidency subject to intrusive information requests from political opponents in the legislative branch.”

Trump also asserted that the House committee is more interested in “releasing the President’s tax information to the public” than in studying the Internal Revenue Service’s auditing procedure for presidents and vice presidents, which is the stated statutory goal for requesting the tax returns.

Trump’s attorneys expressly requested that the court act by Wednesday to delay a judgement by an appeals court that cleared the way for the IRS to submit the tax returns on Thursday.

“This case raises important questions about the separation of powers that will affect every future President,” Trump’s lawyers said in their emergency application to Chief Justice John Roberts. The chief justice has authority over such petitions from cases arising from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

More on this story via The Republic Brief:

The requested delay would give Trump time to formally ask the high court to hear an appeal of the ruling. But the lawyers also said the Supreme Court could consider Monday’s filing itself a request to hear the case, and the filing accused the committee of trying to get Trump’s tax returns solely for the purpose of releasing them to the public, and not for a review of IRS audits of presidents, as the House panel has stated. CONTINUE READING…

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