The United States Supreme Court has given approval for Former President, Donald Trump’s tax forms to be handed over to a Democratic-controlled congressional committee.
The court, with no noted dissents, 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.
The decision means the United States treasury department can deliver the tax returns from 2015 to 2020 for Mr. Trump and some of his businesses to the Democratic-controlled committee.
The House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee has been seeking access to his records since 2019.
The court’s decision is a major hit for Trump, who has kept records of his tax returns secret for years.
Mr. Trump is the first president in forty years who did not release his taxes after announcing his first presidential bid.
Trump refused to release his tax returns either during his successful 2016 campaign or his four years in the White House.
Former President, Donald Trump has notched two other defeats this year from the conservative-dominated Supreme Court, three of whose justices he appointed.
In October, the court refused to weigh in on the legal fight over the FBI search of Mr. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home. Agents served a warrant at the estate in August on suspicion that the former president improperly handled classified documents.
In January also, the court refused to stop the National Archives from handing over documents to the House committee investigating the January 6, 2021 insurrection by Trump supporters at the US Capitol.
The Treasury Department had refused to provide the records during Trump’s presidency. But Biden’s administration said federal law is clear that the committee has the right to examine any taxpayer’s return, including the president’s.
Trump’s Tax Returns First Requested In 2019
The Ways and Means panel first demanded 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.
The Justice Department under the Trump administration had supported a decision by then-Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin to withhold the tax returns from Congress.
Mnuchin claimed that he could withhold the documents because he resolved that they were being sought by Democrats for partisan reasons. This resulted in a lawsuit.
After President Joe Biden took office, the committee reintroduced the request, seeking Trump’s tax returns and additional information from 2015 to 2020. 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.
Cyrus Vance Jr., then-Manhattan District Attorney, 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 overruled Trump’s argument that he had broad immunity as president.
Chief Justice John Roberts imposed a temporary freeze on November 1, 2022 to allow the court to weigh the legal issues presented by Trump’s lawyers and the counter arguments of the administration and the House of Representatives.
Just over three weeks later, the court lifted Roberts’ order without comment.
Congressman Richard Neal, the committee chairman until the next Congress begins in January, disclosed in a statement that his committee “will now conduct the oversight that we’ve sought for the last three and a half years.”