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Trump Asks Supreme Court To Block Disclosure Of Tax Information To House Democrats

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WASHINGTON — Former President Donald Trump on Monday asked the Supreme Court to block a congressional committee from accessing his tax records as a long-running legal battle reaches its final stages.

Trump, who unlike other recent presidents has refused to release his tax returns amid scrutiny of his business affairs, turned to the judges after an appeals court in Washington refused to intervene. The court recently rejected similar requests from Trump.

Trump’s attorneys say the commission’s stated purpose of needing the information to investigate how the Internal Revenue Service conducts the auditing process for presidents has not stood up to scrutiny.

“The committee’s purpose in requesting President Trump’s tax returns has nothing to do with funding or staffing issues with the IRS and everything to do with disclosing the president’s tax information,” the attorneys wrote in the court filing.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on Thursday declined to reconsider the August panel of three judges’ ruling that the House Ways and Means Committee could obtain the tax returns.

The appeals court’s decision not to reconsider its ruling means that the tax returns will become public if the Supreme Court does not intervene immediately.

Under federal law, tax returns are kept confidential, but there are some exceptions, including one that allows the committee chair to request them.

The legal battle began in April 2019, when Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., the committee’s chairman, asked for Trump’s returns and those of related business entities. He said he was seeking the information as part of the commission’s investigation into whether tax laws related to presidents should be changed.

The Treasury Department, then under Trump’s control, refused to comply, saying Neal had no valid purpose, prompting the commission to file a lawsuit.

After President Joe Biden’s election in 2021, the Treasury Department said it would comply, but Trump himself objected. A federal judge ruled in December 2021 that the request was lawful, prompting Trump to appeal.

Trump alleges, among other things, not only that the request is invalid, but also that the statue is unconstitutional because it is too wide and that Biden’s decision to release the material was an unconstitutional form of retaliation that would violate the rights of the First Amendment of Trump violates.

Democrats have been calling for Trump to release his tax returns since the 2016 presidential campaign. While no law requires presidential candidates to release their tax returns, it has become the norm for both Democrats and Republicans to do so.

In a separate case, the Trump Organization — Trump’s close-knit company — is currently on trial over allegations that it was involved in a 15-year scheme to compensate top executives “off the books” to help them evade taxes.

Trump continues to face other legal battles, including the House Committee’s investigation into the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol by his supporters. The commission has issued a subpoena requesting Trump’s testimony.

While the Supreme Court has a conservative majority of 6-3, including three justices he has appointed, Trump has recently failed in other such emergency filings, including his effort to prevent White House documents from being handed over to the White House Committee. House Jan. 6 and his attempt to prevent the disclosure of his financial records to prosecutors in New York. Most recently, on Oct. 13, the court rejected Trump’s request to authorize a special master to review classified papers seized at his Mar-a-Lago residence.

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