Supreme Court clears way for Trump tax records to be sent to Congress by IRS

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  • The Supreme Court rejected a bid by former President Donald Trump to block Congress from receiving income tax returns from the IRS.
  • The decision came more than three months after a three-judge panel of a federal appeals court in Washington ruled that the Ways and Means Committee had authority to obtain Trump’s tax returns.
  • Trump then asked the Supreme Court on October 31 to block the committee from receiving his tax returns.

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a bid by former President Donald Trump to block Congress from obtaining his federal income tax returns from the IRS and related business entities.

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The decision sets the stage for the Democrat-controlled House Ways and Means Committee to obtain Trump’s tax returns in the weeks before Republicans take majority control of the House.

GOP lawmakers have vowed to end the committee’s quest to obtain records and an internal revenue service probe into how the tax returns of current presidents are audited.

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Tuesday’s order by the Supreme Court, which did not dissent from any of the justices, comes more than three months after a three-judge panel of a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., ruled that The Ways and Means Committee had authority to obtain Trump’s tax returns.

On October 27, the full appeals court denied Trump’s request that the full lineup of judges on that court hear his appeal.

Trump then asked the Supreme Court on October 31 to block the committee from receiving his tax returns.

In that filing, Trump’s lawyers wrote, “This case raises important questions about the separation of powers that will affect every future president.”

The brief response Tuesday from the Supreme Court rejected Trump’s request to stay lower court rulings that cleared the way for the committee to get its return.

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In April 2019, the Ways and Means Committee first reported to the Treasury Department that Trump and Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust’s federal income tax returns as well as the returns of seven limited liability companies linked to the former president, one of which does business as Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey. Trump was president at the time of that request.

Federal law mandates that the Treasury Department and the IRS distribute income tax returns when requested by Ways and Means, or two other congressional committees that oversee tax issues.

But then-Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who was appointed by Trump, refused to comply with the request for his tax returns, saying the committee lacked a legitimate legislative purpose.

The committee then filed a lawsuit to force the Treasury to turn over the returns.

After President Joe Biden, a Democrat, defeated Trump in the 2020 election, committee chairman Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass. renewed his request for the tax returns the panel wanted him to have. Neill said the committee, in addition to reviewing the application of tax laws to presidents, would also review potential conflicts of interest by the president.

The Treasury Department said in mid-2021 that it would release the returns, citing an opinion from the department’s attorneys. They found that Neill’s request was valid, and that the Treasury had a legal obligation to comply.

Trump then countersued to prevent the retrial from being overturned, arguing that the request both violated the constitutional separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches of government and that the request had no legitimate purpose.

On December 14, Washington federal court judge Trevor McFadden ruled against Trump, saying the committee had a right to the returns.

McFadden wrote, “Legitimate congressional inquiries like the one in the face of a long line of Supreme Court cases require great deference. Even special advice given to former presidents doesn’t change the outcome.”

“The committee needs only a valid legislative purpose,” McFadden wrote. “It’s done.”

Credit: www.cnbc.com /

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