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SCOTUS Rejects Trump Bid to Keep Tax Returns From House Democrats

AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

In an order handed down on Tuesday afternoon, the Supreme Court of the United States said that it would not intervene to block the release of former President Donald Trump's tax returns to the House Ways and Means Committee that, for another few weeks until the beginning of the 118th Congress in January, is controlled by Democrats. The order came after Trump had sought to have the high court intervene to prevent his tax returns from being obtained by House Democrats after he did not prevail before an appeals court that ruled the filings must be turned over to the Ways and Means Committee.

As SCOTUSblog noted, the short order does not include any reasoning nor does it note any dissents among the nine justices — including from the three Trump-appointed Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, or Amy Coney Barrett — but that only means we don't know how the justices' vote on the matter fell. 

The SCOTUS order clears the way for the IRS to send six years' worth of the 45th president's tax returns to the Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee who have been fighting to obtain the tax filings since 2019. 

The committee's Democrat based their claims on a law from the 1920s that allows some congressional leaders to request tax information for any taxpayer, a statute that they insist includes current or former presidents. 

As Bloomberg Law explained in their breaking dispatch on the development:

The House Ways and Means Committee had been racing the calendar to obtain the records before Republicans assume control of the House in January. A decision granting Trump’s request would have kept the records sealed until the new Congress convened.

The committee said it needs the returns to consider potential legislation on presidential compliance with tax rules, public accountability and mandatory IRS audit policy for presidents. A federal appeals court in Washington ruled 3-0 vote committee was entitled to the documents.

Trump’s lawyers argued that the House panel lacked a legitimate legislative purpose and was seeking to make the documents public for political reasons.

The Supreme Court's decision that will allow additional scrutiny of Trump's tax filings by House Democrats will also likely become a focal point for his opponents in the 2024 presidential election cycle that the 45th president recently kicked off by announcing his intent to return to the Oval Office as the 47th president. 

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