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Trump asks Supreme Court to block tax returns from House

Lawyers for former president argue request has 'everything to do with releasing the President's tax information to the public'

Former President Donald Trump addresses the America First Policy Institute's America First Agenda Summit in July.
Former President Donald Trump addresses the America First Policy Institute's America First Agenda Summit in July. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Donald Trump urged the Supreme Court to keep his tax returns from the House Ways and Means Committee in an emergency request Monday, which sets up another high-profile decision about the former president.

The former president said that the justices should pause a ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to hand over tax returns to the House panel so that they can review his appeal. Last week, the full D.C. Circuit declined to revisit an August ruling that committee Chairman Richard E. Neal, D-Mass., could access Trump’s returns.

In Monday’s filing, Trump reiterated arguments that the appellate court had previously rejected, including that the committee requested his returns for the sake of exposing him.

“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 argued in the request.

The D.C. Circuit ruling said the court could only focus on the request itself, which met the requirements under the law. “The mere fact that individual members of Congress may have political motivations as well as legislative ones is of no moment,” the D.C. Circuit wrote.

The Ways and Means Committee originally requested Trump’s personal tax returns last year under a law that allows the panel to review personal tax records.

In the request, Neal said the returns would be used to assess the presidential audit program.

Trump sued after the Biden administration said it would comply with the request, and the former president argued Democrats intended to use the information against him politically. The former president also raised separation of power concerns, saying the House may unconstitutionally pursue increased tax oversight for the presidency.

The three-judge panel rejected that argument, and Trump then sought review from the full D.C. Circuit. The full court rejected the request in a one-page order Thursday.

The committee had never requested the returns of a sitting president. However, Trump himself also broke long-standing precedent by refusing to release his returns since launching his presidential campaign in 2015, citing an ongoing audit.

Every president since Richard Nixon has released their tax returns, and Nixon also did so while under audit.

Neal launched the suit in 2019 while Trump was still in office, after the Treasury Department refused to comply with Neal’s request for the returns. The agency called Neal’s reasons pretextual.

The panel reissued the request in 2021, which the Biden administration said it would comply with. Trump intervened in the case, reiterating many arguments he had made while he was in office that the panel’s motivations were political.

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