By Zoe Tillman, Bloomberg News (TNS)
[Update: Nov. 1, 2022, 11am ET]: On Tuesday, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts put a temporary hold on the release of Donald J. Trump’s tax returns to a Congressional committee, while the court decides whether to hear the former president’s appeal.]
Former President Donald Trump has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to block a congressional committee from getting years of his tax returns.
The emergency application to the justices on Monday comes after Trump repeatedly lost in the lower courts trying to stop the IRS from fulfilling a request from the House Ways and Means Committee for six years’ worth of his tax returns.
Trump’s pitch for the Supreme Court to intervene and temporarily stop the IRS from turning over the documents while he argues for the high court to take up the merits of the case will go to Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. Roberts, who handles emergency matters out of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, could act on Trump’s request by himself or circulate it to the other justices for a vote.
The case dates back to 2019, when the committee’s Democratic Chair Richard Neal asked the IRS for Trump’s tax returns, citing a 1924 law that allows the leaders of three tax committees in Congress to ask the U.S. treasury secretary for the returns of any taxpayer.
The Treasury Department refused to comply with the request while Trump was in office and the committee took the fight to court. Trump picked up the fight on his own when the department under the Biden administration said that it would turn over the documents.
Trump argued the committee lacked a “legitimate legislative purpose” in seeking his tax returns, a common claim he’s raised in challenging congressional investigations and lawmaker demands for documents over the years. The committee said that it needed the returns to consider future legislation on issues like presidential compliance with tax rules, public accountability, and the IRS’ mandatory audit policy for presidents.
A federal district judge in Washington, D.C., sided with the committee and Treasury Department in December, ordering Trump’s claims dismissed. A three-judge D.C. Circuit panel upheld that decision in August.
Trump asked the full D.C. Circuit to reconsider the panel’s ruling. The court denied that request in a brief order issued on Oct. 27; no judge noted a dissent. That order started a seven-day clock for Trump to ask the Supreme Court to step in before the IRS released the documents to the committee.
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