Chief Justice John Roberts temporarily blocks House Democrats from obtaining Trump’s tax records

Chief Justice John Roberts temporarily blocks House Democrats from obtaining Trump’s tax records

Washington – Chief Justice John Roberts temporarily blocked the House Ways and Means Committee from obtaining several years of former President Donald Trump’s tax records, two days before they were due to be delivered.

Roberts, in a short order, issued an interim stay of a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit pending further action by it or the full court. He also ordered the Ways and Means Committee to respond to Trump’s urgent request for the Supreme Court to intervene in the long-running dispute over his tax records by November 10.

Roberts oversees emergency matters arising from the DC Circuit.

Trump on Monday returned to the High Court after the federal appeals court in Washington last week refused his request for the full court to reconsider a decision by a three-judge panel finding that the Ways and Means Committee could get it several years of his tax return.

The DC Circuit’s refusal to hear the case paved the way for the IRS to hand over Trump’s tax records to the House panel, and the agency was poised to do so on Thursday.

In the emergency request to Roberts, Trump’s lawyers said the dispute with House Democrats over his records raises questions of separation of powers that affect future presidents.

“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,” they said.

Trump’s legal team also told the Supreme Court that public statements by Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, a Massachusetts Democrat who sought the records, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi indicated that they aim to obtain the financial records of the former president to expose his “fiscal information. to the public for exposure”.

The legal battle between Trump and congressional Democrats stems from a request that Neal made to the IRS in 2019 for several years of tax returns and related information for Trump and some of his business entities. Neal’s request was made under a federal law that allows Congress to request the tax information of certain individuals from the agency.

At the time, the Treasury Department under the Trump administration refused to comply, arguing that Neal’s request was not supported by a legitimate legislative purpose. The committee then sued the IRS and the Treasury Department to force them to turn over the records.

As the dispute was pending, President Biden assumed office and Neal renewed his request, this time seeking tax returns for 2015 to 2020. The Biden administration said the Treasury Department should give the records to Congress, which the department said it intended to do.

Trump returned to the courts to block the release of his returns, arguing unsuccessfully that the requests from House Democrats were unconstitutional and lacked a valid legislative purpose.

In his submission to the Supreme Court, Trump said the legal issues presented in his case are “unresolved” and warrant a high court review.

“No Congress has ever exercised its legislative powers to request a president’s tax returns,” his lawyers wrote, adding later that Congress does not urgently need Trump’s information “to be able to study generic legislation on the funding and regulation of future IRS audits.” presidents”.

Trump has in numerous court battles sought to protect his financial information from congressional and state investigators. In 2019, the House Oversight and Reform Committee issued a subpoena to his accounting firm, Mazars, for years of the former president’s financial records, which started a legal battle that ended before the Supreme Court and then it was returned to the lower courts. Trump and the Oversight Committee arrived at a settlement in September, the litigation ends.

The Supreme Court too ruled in June 2020 that the Manhattan district attorney could obtain troves of Trump’s business records and tax returns. Financial information was he returned in February 2021 after the High Court again rejected an attempt by Trump to protect his records from prosecutors.

Robert Legare contributed to this report.

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