UPDATE: Chief Justice John Roberts put a temporary hold on the handover of former President Donald Trump’s tax returns to a congressional committee. Roberts’ order gives the Supreme Court time to weigh the legal issues in Trump’s emergency appeal.
On Monday, former President Trump filed an emergency appeal to the Supreme Court after a lower court declined to reverse its ruling mandating that he turn over his tax records to the House Ways and Means Committee.
“No Congress has ever wielded its legislative powers to demand a President’s tax returns,” Trump argued to the high court, expressing outrage about the “far-reaching implications” of the D.C. Circuit’s ruling.
“The Committee’s purpose in requesting President Trump’s tax returns has nothing to do with funding or staffing issues at the IRS and everything to do with releasing the President’s tax information to the public,” Trump’s attorneys wrote in the filing according to The Washington Examiner.
The request was made to Chief Justice John Roberts, who has authority over such appeals stemming from the District of Columbia.
Last week, Trump lost his latest bid to block the House Committee from accessing his records after the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals declined to reconsider a unanimous August ruling from one of the court’s panels ordering their release.
Committee chairman Richard Neal(D-MA) celebrated the lower court’s ruling last week.
“The law has always been on our side,” Rep. Neal said in a statement. “Former President Trump has tried to delay the inevitable, but once again, the Court has affirmed the strength of our position. We’ve waited long enough—we must begin our oversight of the IRS’s mandatory presidential audit program as soon as possible.”
In December, federal court Judge Trevor McFadden, a Trump appointee, ruled that the Treasury Department must turn over the tax returns, holding that despite Trump’s claims that the pursuit of records by the House committee was politically motivated, the committee’s chairman, Democrat Richard Neal, held a “valid legislative purpose” with his request, according to The Hill.
“The Chairman has identified a legitimate legislative purpose that it requires information to accomplish,” Judge David Sentelle, wrote in the panel’s opinion. “At this stage, it is not our place to delve deeper than this.”
Democrats have engaged in a yearslong battle for Trump’s tax records, claiming they need to probe how the Internal Revenue Service conducts its routine presidential audits, however, Trump and his legal team have argued the matter is purely political.