Supreme Court OKs handover of Trump tax returns to Congress

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court cleared the way Tuesday for the impending handover of former President Donald Trump Filed tax returns to congressional committees after a three-year legal battle.

The court denied Trump’s request, without apparent dissent, to block the Treasury Department from providing six years of tax returns from Trump and some of his businesses to the Democratic-controlled House Ways and Means Committee.

Of the last few presidents, only Trump has refused to release his tax returns during his successful 2016 campaign or during his four years in the White House, citing what he said were ongoing audits by the IRS. Last week, Trump announced he would run again in 2024.

It was the former president’s second Supreme Court loss in as many months and the third this year. In October, court declined to intervene in legal battle over FBI raid of Trump’s Florida estate As a result, classified documents were discovered.

In January, a court refused to prevent the National Archives from turning over documents to a House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. Justice Clarence Thomas was the only vote in Trump’s favour.

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Amid a dispute over his tax returns, the Treasury Department has refused to provide records from Trump’s presidency. But the Biden administration said federal law makes it clear that the committee has the authority to review any taxpayer’s return, including the president’s.

The lower court agreed that the committee has broad powers to obtain the tax returns and rejected Trump’s contention that it crossed the line and only wanted the documents so they could be made public.

Chief Justice John Roberts imposed a temporary freeze on Nov. 1 to allow the court to weigh legal issues raised by Trump’s lawyers and counterarguments from the administration and the House.

Just over three weeks later, the court lifted Roberts’ order without comment.

Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., said in a statement that his committee “will now conduct the oversight that we have been seeking for the past three and a half years,” he said in a statement, His committee “will now conduct oversight”.

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In a message on his social media networks, Trump said the Supreme Court’s action “creates a terrible precedent for future presidents.” He accused the Supreme Court of being “nothing more than a political institution, and our country paid the price for it.”

He also said: “Why is anyone surprised that the Supreme Court rules against me, they always do!”

The House argued that an order blocking the release of tax returns from the IRS would give lawmakers “little or no time to do their legislative work during this Congress, which is coming to an end soon.”

If Trump persuades the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene, he could face timeouts in committees as Republicans prepare to take control of the House of Representatives in January. If the issue isn’t resolved by then, they’ll almost certainly drop the request to record.

The House Ways and Means Committee first asked Trump to submit his tax returns in 2019 as part of an investigation into the former president’s IRS audit program and compliance with tax laws. A federal law states that the IRS “shall provide any taxpayer’s tax return to a select few senior lawmakers.”

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The Justice Department under the Trump administration had defended then-Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s decision to withhold tax returns from Congress. Mnuchin argued that he could withhold the documents because he concluded they were being sought by Democrats for partisan reasons. Litigation ensued.

After President Joe Biden took office, the committee renewed its request, seeking Trump’s 2015-2020 tax returns and other information. The White House’s position is that the request is valid and the Treasury Department has no choice but to comply. Trump then tried to block the transfer in court.

As part of the criminal investigation, then-Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. obtained copies of Trump’s personal and business tax records. The case also made it to the Supreme Court, which rejected Trump’s argument that he enjoyed broad immunity as president.

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