Trump Tax: House Ways and Means Committee May Keep Records

A federal appeals court panel ruled Tuesday that House Democrats have the right to review Donald Trump’s tax returns from 2015 to 2020, rejecting several legal arguments by the former president, who has tried for years to keep his financial records private.

The decision by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit is a victory for the House Ways and Means Committee, chaired by Rep. Richard E. Neill (D-Mass.) first requested it in 2019. The Internal Revenue Service handed over copies of Trump’s tax returns to the committee. The Treasury Department initially declined, and the issue has been tied up in litigation ever since.

The former president has a week to appeal the panel’s decision, including requesting that the case be heard by the full Court of Appeal before the ruling takes effect. Trump’s attorney handling the appeal, Cameron D. Norris did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) praised the decision, calling it “an important victory for the rule of law.”

“Access to the former president’s tax returns is critical to the public interest, our national security and the maintenance of our democracy,” Pelosi said in a statement. “We look forward to the IRS complying with this ruling and providing the requested documents so that ways and means can commence the oversight responsibilities of the mandatory presidential audit program.”

Judges review request for Trump tax returns

The panel’s verdict was 3-0 It marks another round in the legal battle between Trump — who as a presidential candidate eventually promised to release his tax returns but never did — and the group, which argues that federal law has the right to review any person’s taxes in the process of creating a robust Financial-Disclosure and Audit Act.

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After Trump left office, the committee renewed its request for his tax returns in 2021, and the Biden administration’s Treasury Department agreed to provide them, prompting Trump’s lawsuit.

In an effort to keep his recordings confidential, Trump insisted the group had no “legitimate legal purpose.” To seek tax returns; That the group violated the separation of powers; A law allowing the board to review tax returns is “facially unconstitutional”; And the Treasury Department agreed to turn over records, violating Trump’s constitutional rights by retaliating against him.

The Appellate Body rejected all four arguments.

The panel “identified a legitimate legislative purpose, the fulfillment of which required the information,” the ruling said. “There is no time when individual members of Congress may have political motives and legislative motivations. In fact, it is rare for an individual member of Congress to serve a legislative purpose without considering the political implications.

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As for the separation of powers, “this case required more discussion about the intrusion of the executive branch and private lives of Congress. [Trump] and the burden imposed by such intrusions,” the decision states. That burden is “substantial,” it is “excessive” and “insufficient to warrant the President’s request for recusal and withdrawal of information.”

Rejecting Trump’s claim that the law allowing the panel to review tax returns is unconstitutional, the ruling said, “the law may properly be applied in many situations, including the law before the court.”

And the committee rejected the request President Biden’s Treasury Department It granted the group’s request for tax returns with an improper motive — retaliation — in violation of Trump’s constitutional rights.

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“Improper motive must be a cause of governmental action, meaning that ‘the adverse action against the plaintiff would not have been taken without retaliatory intent,'” the ruling states. Trump “cannot show that Treasury’s decision to comply with the 2021 request would not have occurred without a retaliatory motive.”

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