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The Supreme Court Has Approved the Release of Trump’s Tax Returns to Congress

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After a three-year legal battle, the Supreme Court on Tuesday paved the way for the imminent release of former President Donald Trump’s tax returns to a congressional committee.

The court denied Trump’s request for an order barring the Treasury Department from turning over six years of tax returns for Trump and certain of his businesses to the Democratic-controlled House Ways and Means Committee.

Trump was the first recent president who refused to reveal his tax returns, either during his successful 2016 campaign or throughout his four years in office, citing an ongoing IRS audit. Trump said last week that he would run for president again in 2024.

It was the former president’s second Supreme Court defeat in as many months, and his third this year. In October, the court declined to intervene in the legal battle over the FBI’s investigation of Trump’s Florida estate, which turned up classified information.

The judge refused to block the National Archives from giving over information to the House committee probing the Capitol insurgency on January 6. Only Justice Clarence Thomas voted in Trump’s favor.

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During Trump’s administration, the Treasury Department declined to produce the records in the controversy over his tax returns. However, the Biden administration stated that federal law clearly states that the committee has the authority to investigate any taxpayer’s return, including the president’s.

Lower courts agreed that the committee had the extensive authority to seek tax returns and rejected Trump’s allegations that the committee was overreaching and simply wanted the records to make them public.

On Nov. 1, Chief Justice John Roberts put a temporary halt to allow the court to consider the legal difficulties highlighted by Trump’s lawyers as well as the administration’s and the House of Representatives counterarguments.

The court lifted Roberts’ order without explanation just over three weeks later.

Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., who will lead the committee until the next Congress convenes in January, stated in a statement that his committee “will now conduct the oversight that we’ve wanted for the last three and a half years.”

The Trump campaign did not reply quickly to a request for comment.

Congress can get Trump tax records, appeals court rules

The House said that blocking the IRS from releasing the tax returns would leave lawmakers with “little or no time to accomplish their legislative job during this Congress, which is rapidly approaching its close.”

Had Trump persuaded the Supreme Court to interfere, he might have effectively ended the committee’s existence, with Republicans about to assume control of the House in January.

If the problem had not been rectified by then, they would probably certainly have discontinued the document request.

The House Ways and Means Committee originally requested Trump’s tax returns in 2019 as part of an inquiry into the Internal Revenue Service’s audit program and the former president’s tax law compliance.

According to federal law, the Internal Revenue Service “must furnish” the returns of any taxpayer to a select group of top politicians.

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Under the Trump administration, the Justice Department defended then-Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s decision to withhold tax returns from Congress.

Mnuchin said that he could withhold the materials because he believed Democrats were seeking them for partisan reasons. A lawsuit followed.

The committee reiterated its request after President Joe Biden assumed office, demanding Trump’s tax returns and additional material from 2015 through 2020.

The White House argued that the request was legitimate and that the Treasury Department had no choice but to comply. Trump then went to court to try to stop the handover.

As part of a criminal inquiry, then-Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. received copies of Trump’s personal and business tax returns. The Supreme Court heard that case as well and rejected Trump’s argument that he had broad immunity as president.

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