The judges denied Trump‘s Oct. 31 emergency request to block a lower court ruling that upheld the Ways and Means Committee’s request for its tax records as a justifiable part of the panel’s legislative work. No judge publicly disagreed with the decision.
The commission, which spent six years sifting through Trump’s tax records, from 2015 to 2020, will have little time to complete its work on the returns before a Republican takeover of the House. The Republicans won a narrow majority following the November 8 midterm elections and will take control of the House – and committee – in January.
The battle over his tax returns is one of many legal issues for Trump as he moves forward with a new candidate for president in 2024. Trump announced the launch of his candidacy last week.
Ways and Means chairman Richard Neal said the Supreme Court’s action upholds the principle of congressional oversight.
“This is beyond politics and the committee will now provide the oversight we have sought for the past three and a half years,” Neal said in a statement.
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 because he wanted to keep details of his wealth and the activities of his real estate company, the Trump Organization, secret.
The Ways and Means panel had told the Supreme Court in a legal filing that Trump’s side would harm the constitutional authority of an equal government “by effectively preventing Congress from completing an investigation involving a former president when there are allegations that the investigation was politically motivated.”
The panel relied in its request on a federal law that authorizes its chairperson to request an individual’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 reviewing presidential returns and to gauge whether new legislation is needed.
In its filing, the commission told the judges that the IRS policy “does not address what to do with a president who, like former President Trump, owned hundreds of corporate entities, had excessively complex filings, used aggressive tax avoidance strategies, and allegedly had ongoing audits. .”
Trump’s lawyers have said the commission’s real purpose was to make his tax returns public and uncover politically damaging information about Trump.
U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden, a Trump appointee, sided with Congress in December 2021, denying the challenge of the commission’s request, finding that the commission has broad authority over a former president’s tax returns.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit also ruled against Trump in August and denied a rehearsal in October.
Tuesday’s order replaced Chief Justice John Roberts’ Nov. 1 order that effectively paused the litigation and barred the panel from obtaining the Trump refunds while the court considered how to proceed.
Trump has growing legal concerns. U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland last week appointed special counsel to oversee two investigations, including a criminal investigation into the FBI’s seizure of government documents from Trump’s Florida home.
His real estate company is in the middle of a criminal trial in New York over tax fraud allegations. A trial date for next year was set in a civil suit by the New York State Attorney General accusing Trump and three of his adult children of fraudulently overvaluing the company’s assets and net worth. In addition, an investigation in Georgia is looking into whether he interfered in the 2020 election results in that state.