Former President Donald Trump’s legal team has officially embarked on a long-standing struggle over a US House request for his tax returns, claiming that Trump’s financial history is being unfairly pursued for for political reasons by the Democrats and seeks to end the House Ways and Means Committee investigations into the former President and his businesses.
The Justice Department determined last week that the Internal Revenue Service must hand over Trump’s tax returns to Congress, but a federal judge is still considering what might happen.
As pressure mounts in House Democrats’ pursuit of Trump’s tax information, tax returns likely won’t be turned over to Congress anytime soon – and Trump’s new case will likely lead to several new rounds of legal arguments. .
The court appearance on Wednesday makes Trump a part of the lawsuit. For the past two years, his legal team has been largely on the sidelines as the House battles the executive.
Trump asks the Federal Court to permanently prevent the Treasury Department from handing over its tax returns and to order the Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, Richard Neal, to “end all ongoing reviews” of Trump and of its businesses.
Trump’s team is also looking to recoup their legal fees, according to their new case.
“The primary purpose of the requests is to obtain and expose stakeholder information for the purpose of exposure, to inappropriately conduct law enforcement, or for some other impermissible purpose – not to study federal law. “Trump’s lawyers argue in Wednesday’s case. “President Neal’s demands have always been a transparent effort by one political party to harass an official from the other party because they don’t like his policies and his rhetoric.
Biden’s Justice Department last week turned the tide of the Trump administration, saying the Treasury Department must hand over Trump’s tax returns when requested by the Ways and Means Committee.
Federal Judge Trevor McFadden, who was appointed by Trump to DC District Court, will consider Trump’s request in court and likely set a timeline for further proceedings. There is also a three-day stay set by the court that would delay the IRS from immediately filing tax returns.
The case dates back to 2019, when the House Ways and Means Committee sued the Treasury Department after the committee requested and did not receive the IRS tax returns. The House requested six years of Trump’s tax returns and other information relating to the then President personally, as well as eight of his legal entities, including his Bedminster Golf Club and the trust that owned his businesses during the presidency.
The Committee had requested tax returns under a little-known section of the US tax code that allows it to research the returns of any American.
At the time, the Justice Department under Trump backed the Treasury Department by ignoring Congress’ request. The court case was put on hold, amid several other standoffs between branches of government.
The Ways and Means Committee argued that it needed the income statements to review whether IRS audits of presidents are functioning properly – in accordance with the committee’s regular legislative responsibilities. This summer, Neal renewed his request for six years of Trump’s tax returns, citing the committee’s interest in the IRS presidential audit program and in crafting laws based on Trump’s business entanglements, who were more extensive and protected than any other modern president.
Typically, federal courts cannot dictate how Congress conducts its investigation when working on legislation. Yet the Trump side disagrees with what the House says it needs and its reasoning.
In this case, Trump called the Ways and Means Committee’s arguments in favor of tax returns “retroactive downsizing to help win this case.”
Trump’s lawyers are also reviving a refrain Trump has used for years to explain why he hasn’t released his tax returns, flouting the tradition of every other recent presidential candidate. They say his taxes are still “the subject of ongoing IRS reviews” and that the work itself is “like a lawsuit,” according to Wednesday’s filing. Trump’s lawyers argue that the IRS could be swayed by Congress reviewing the work of their officials on Trump’s taxes, a possible violation of his constitutional due process right.
This story has been updated with additional details.