Trump is asking the Supreme Court to stop the House from getting his tax refunds
WASHINGTON — Former President Donald J. Trump asked the Supreme Court on Monday to intervene in the long-running dispute over whether a House committee can get access to his tax returns.
In a 31 page filingMr. Trump’s lawyers asked Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. to freeze business while they prepare a formal appeal of a decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which said the House Ways and Means Committee had. the right to see his return.
If the Supreme Court does not grant the request for an emergency stay, the appeals court will issue a so-called mandate that completes its decision on Wednesday, which would free the Treasury Department to return the records.
Whether the Supreme Court decides to extend a court order that blocked the Treasury Department from completing the request while the matter was litigated before the appeals court could effectively decide whether the House committee obtains the documents, which has been searching since 2019.
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That’s because if Republicans regain control of the House in the midterm elections next week, as polls indicate is likely, they are almost certain to drop the request when the new Congress sits in January. Mr. Trump has pursued a strategy of using the slow pace of litigation to run out the clock on surveillance efforts, which he has done since he was president.
In the filing, however, Mr. Trump’s legal team argued that a further delay would not harm the House. He noted that the House revisited its request in January 2021, when the current Congress was sitting, ignoring the political reality that, while the party control of the chamber was the same, it was likely to change after the middle of in 2022.
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“Even if the request of the committee has not been completed at the end of the current term of Congress, it could be transmitted in later terms (as it already has) and inform the work of the committee then,” he said Trump’s legal filing.
The case traces back to the 2016 election, when Mr. Trump broke with a modern precedent by refusing to make his public return. In 2019, after the Democrats took over the House, they started trying to investigate their hidden finances.
Representative Richard E. Neal, Democrat of Massachusetts and chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, asked for Mr. Trump’s tax return, citing a federal law which gives its panel the authority to view taxpayer documents. But the Trump administration has refused to let the Treasury Department return the records.
In July 2019, the House filed a lawsuit seeking to enforce his claim. But the Federal District Court judge to whom the case was assigned, Trevor N. McFadden, a Trump appointee, has not made any decision until December 2021.
In the interim, the Biden administration had taken over and Mr. Neal had issued a renewed request for Mr. Trump’s tax returns from 2015 to 2020, saying the committee was studying a program that audits presidents. Under the Biden administration, the Department of Justice also issued a memorandum saying the committee had the legal right to obtain the records.
When he finally issued a decision, Judge McFadden agreed that the committee had a legal right to obtain the records. Mr. Trump appealed, and in August a panel on the D.C. Circuit upheld Judge McFadden’s decision. Mr. Trump asked the full D.C. Circuit to hear the case.
But last week, he refused to do so, setting the stage for Mr. Trump to return to the Supreme Court.
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