Washington: The US Supreme Court has cleared the way for the imminent handover of former president Donald Trump’s tax returns to a congressional committee after a three-year legal fight.
The court, with no noted dissents, rejected Trump’s plea for an order that would have prevented the Treasury Department from giving six years of tax returns for Trump and some of his businesses to the Democratic-controlled House Ways and Means committee.
Donald Trump has been fighting to keep his tax returns private. Credit:AP
Alone among recent presidents, Trump refused to release his tax returns either during his successful 2016 campaign or his four years in the White House, citing what he said was an ongoing audit by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Last week, he announced he would run again in 2024.
It is Trump’s second loss at the Supreme Court in as many months, and third this year. In October, the court refused to step into the legal fight surrounding the FBI search of his Florida estate that turned up classified documents.
In January, the court refused to stop the National Archives from turning over documents to the House committee investigating the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol. Justice Clarence Thomas was the only vote in Trump’s favour.
New York Attorney General Letitia James’s ’s office said its civil investigation uncovered evidence that Donald Trump’s company used “fraudulent or misleading” asset valuations to get loans and tax benefits.Credit:AP
In the dispute over his tax returns, the Treasury Department had refused to provide the records during Trump’s presidency. But the Biden administration said federal law was clear that the committee had the right to examine any taxpayer’s return, including the president’s.
Lower courts agreed that the committee has broad authority to obtain tax returns and rejected Trump’s claims that it was overstepping and only wanted the documents so they could be made public.
Chief Justice John Roberts imposed a temporary freeze on November 1 to allow the court to weigh the legal issues raised by Trump’s lawyers and the counter-arguments of the administration and the House of Representatives.
Just three weeks later, the court lifted Roberts’ order without comment.
Democrat congressman Richard Neal, the committee chairman until the next Congress begins in January, said in a statement that his committee “will now conduct the oversight that we’ve sought for the last three and a half years.”
The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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