US Supreme Court clears way for lawmakers to get Trump’s tax returns


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The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed the release of Donald Trump’s tax returns to a House of Representatives committee, defeating the former Republican president who called the Democratic-led panel’s request politically motivated.

The justices denied Trump’s Oct. 31 emergency request to block a lower court’s decision that upheld the Ways and Means Committee’s request for his tax records as a justified part of the panel’s legislative work. No judge publicly opposed the decision.

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The committee, which has searched six years of Trump’s tax records spanning 2015 to 2020, will have little time to complete its filing-related work before a Republican takeover of the House. Republicans secured a narrow majority after the Nov. 8 midterm elections and took control of the House — and the committee — in January.

The fight over his tax returns is one of Trump’s many legal troubles as he pushes forward with another bid for president in 2024. Trump announced the launch of his bid last week.

Ways and Means President Richard Neal said the Supreme Court action upholds the principle of congressional oversight.

« This rises above politics, and the committee will now conduct the oversight we have sought for three and a half years, » Neal said in a statement.

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A Trump spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Trump was the first president in four decades not to release his tax returns as he sought to keep details of his wealth and the operations of his real estate company, the Trump Organization, secret.

The Ways and Means panel had told the Supreme Court in a legal filing that siding with Trump would undermine the constitutional authority of a co-equal branch of government « by effectively preventing Congress from carrying out any investigation involving a former president whenever there are allegations that the investigation was politically motivated.

The panel in its request cited a federal law that empowers its chairman to request anyone’s tax returns from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). House Democrats said they need to see Trump’s tax returns to assess whether the IRS is properly auditing presidential filings and to assess whether new legislation is needed.

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In its filing, the committee told judges that IRS policy « does not address what to do about a president who, like former President Trump, owned hundreds of business entities, had overly complex statements, used aggressive tax avoidance strategies and allegedly had ongoing audits.”

Trump’s lawyers said the committee’s real purpose was to publicly expose his tax returns and uncover politically damaging information about Trump.

Trump-appointed U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden sided with Congress in December 2021 and rejected the committee’s challenge to the request, saying the committee has broad authority over a tax return. former president.

The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in August also ruled against Trump and in October declined a new hearing.

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Tuesday’s order replaced one issued by Chief Justice John Roberts on Nov. 1 that effectively halted the dispute and barred the panel from obtaining statements from Trump while the court considered the way forward.

Trump has growing legal worries.

His real estate company is in the middle of a criminal trial in New York for tax evasion. On Tuesday, Donald Bender, a former outside accountant for the company who also prepared Trump’s personal tax returns, told jurors that Trump reported net operating losses every year from 2011 to 2018. Trump also reported losses of $700 million in 2009 and $200 million in 2010, Bender testified.

The New York Times reported in 2020 that years of reporting heavy losses from Trump’s business venture had helped him offset hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue.

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Additionally, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland last week appointed a special counsel to oversee two investigations, including a criminal investigation related to the FBI’s seizure of government documents from Trump’s Florida home.

A trial date for next year has been set in a civil lawsuit brought by the New York State Attorney General accusing Trump and three of his adult children of fraudulently overstating the assets of the business and its net worth. An investigation in Georgia is also looking into whether Trump interfered with the 2020 election results in that state.

(Reporting by Andrew Chung in New York; Additional reporting by Luc Cohen in New York; Editing by Will Dunham)



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