SCOTUS declines to block release of Trump tax returns to House Democrats

(WASHINGTON, DC) CBS News reports that the Supreme Court of the United States decided Tuesday to allow the Treasury Department to provide the House Ways and Means Committee with several years of former President Donald Trump’s tax returns.

Weeks ahead of Republicans taking control in the House, Democrats are finally seeing some resolution to a three-year legal battle. Starting in April 2019, Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) made a request under federal law that allows the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee to request individuals’ tax returns.

The Treasury Department, then headed by Republican Steven Mnuchin, declined to authorize the release. House Democrats sued the IRS the rest of the department, intending to force them to hand over the tax information.

After a number of back and forth suits, appeals, and counter-appeals, the Supreme Court made the decision not to intervene, and to allow the tax returns to be handed over. Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar wrote that “The request was not overly broad; the request offered detailed and specific evidence that the requested tax information would further its purpose; and the request would not unduly burden the former president, the incumbent, or the institution of the presidency.”

Senior US Circuit Judge David Sentelle wrote in a ruling that Democrats’ request had specific merit, and that “While it is possible that Congress may attempt to threaten the sitting president with an invasive request after leaving office, every president takes office knowing that he will be subject to the same laws as all other citizens upon leaving office. This is a feature of our democratic republic, not a bug.”

Donald Trump broke with precedent originally in 2015, first stating that he would not release his tax returns as a presidential candidate until an IRS audit had been completed. When the IRS responded that their audits did not prevent disclosure of the information, Mr. Trump then stated that he did not intend to release his tax returns.





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