The US Supreme Court on Tuesday cleared the release of Donald Trump’s tax returns to a House of Representatives committee, handing a defeat to the Republican former president who had called the Democratic-led panel’s request politically motivated.
The justices denied Trump’s October 31 emer-gency application to block a lower court’s ruling that upheld the Ways and Means Committee’s request for his tax records as a justified part of the panel’s legis-lative work. No justice publicly dissented from the decision.
The committee, which has sought six years of Trump’s tax records spanning 2015 to 2020, will have little time to complete its work related to the returns before a Republican takeover of the House. Republicans secured a narrow majority following the November 8 midterm elections and take control of the House — and the committee — in January.
The fight over his tax returns is one of many le-gal woes for Trump as he moves forward with an-other run for the presidency in 2024. Trump last week announced the launch of his candidacy.
Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal said the Supreme Court’s action upholds the principle of congressional oversight.
“This rises above politics, and the committee will now conduct the oversight that we’ve sought for the last three and a half years,” Neal said in a statement.
A Trump spokesperson did not immediately re-ply to a request for comment. Trump was the first president in four decades years not to release his tax returns as he sought to keep secret the details of his wealth and the activities of his real estate company, the Trump Organisation.
The Ways and Means panel had told the Supreme Court in a legal filing that siding with Trump would harm the constitutional authority of a co-equal branch of government “by in effect preventing Congress from completing any investigation involving a former president whenever there are allegations that the investigation was politically motivated.”
The panel in its request invoked a federal law that empowers its chairman to request any person’s tax returns from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
House Democrats have said they need to see Trump’s tax returns to assess whether the IRS is properly auditing presidential returns and to gauge whether new legislation is needed.—AFP