Supreme Court Permits Lawmakers To Access Trump’s Tax Returns

Supreme Court Permits Lawmakers To Access Trump’s Tax Returns

By Aaron Miller-

Former U.S president, Donald Trump, has finally lost his battle to block Democratic-led House committees from obtaining his tax returns, paving the way for investigators with Democratic lawmakers to review them before the next Congress is sworn in.

The ruling came as the Trump Organisation’s property company was involved in a criminal trial in New York on tax fraud charges.

The long fight of the president to conceal his tax returns from being released to the public came to a crashing end on Tuesday Mr Trump saw a final defeat on Tuesday by the conservative majority of the Supreme Court.

The committee’s right to examine the president’s tax return has now been established, dismissing Trump’s claims that the demand for his tax records were illegitimate, and only for the vain made public.

Mr Trump became the first president in 40 years not to release his taxes after announcing his first presidential run, sparking speculations about the reasons he was holding it back. The former president is facing several investigations related to his business practices.

The Justice Department under the Trump administration had originally defended a decision by then U.S. treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin to withhold the tax returns from Congress. Mnuchin argued that he could withhold the documents because he concluded they were being sought by Democrats for partisan reasons. A lawsuit ensued.

The committee renewed the request when Biden came into power and demanded access to Trump’s tax returns. The White House took the position that the request was a valid one and that the Treasury Department had no choice but to comply. Trump then attempted to halt the handover in court.

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.

“The Treasury Department will comply with the Court of Appeals’ decision,” a Treasury Department spokesperson said in a statement in response to Tuesday’s high court action. The agency, which includes the Internal Revenue Service in possession of Trump’s confidential tax returns, declined to say when exactly it would provide the records to the Committee.

The Democratic-controlled committee has argued that – by the Supreme Court’s own guidelines laid out in a 2020 ruling in the same ongoing dispute, judges must defer to the legitimate legislative purpose behind a request for information.

With this recent development, the saga over the right to see Trump’s return is over.
The Democrat-controlled committee will get six years of tax returns from Mr Trump and his related business entities, for the period of 2015 to 2020.

Trump had been trying to block the move until Republicans take over the House, and control of the committee.

In deciding against Mr Trump none of the Supreme Court justices publicly dissented.

That was despite Mr Trump having nominated three of them when he was president.

Richard Neal, the Democrat chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said the court had upheld the principle of congressional oversight.

He said: “This rises above politics and the committee will now conduct the oversight that we’ve sought.”

Bill Pascrel, another Democrat committee member, said: “It has been 1,329 days since our committee sought Donald Trump’s tax returns – almost as long as the American Civil War.

“And for 1,329 days our request made under law has been delayed, obfuscated and blocked by Donald Trump and his adjutants in the government and the courts. The Supreme Court is right to keep its nose out of this case.”

Giving evidence in that case on Tuesday, Donald Bender, an accountant who spent years preparing Mr Trump’s personal tax returns, said he had reported losses every year for a decade from 2009 to 2018.

That included nearly $700 million in 2009, and $200 million in 2010.

 

 

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