trump loses another battle to shield his tax returns from house committee

A federal appeals court on Thursday denied former President Donald Trump’s request to reconsider a ruling that his tax returns can be disclosed to a House committee.

Trump may take the fight next to the U.S. Supreme Court. But the appeals court refused a request to automatically withhold the release of records pending such a challenge.

The full U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld an August decision of a three-judge panel that it would not shield the returns from the House Ways and Means Committee. There were no dissents noted in the order Thursday.

Trump promised while campaigning in the 2016 presidential election that he would release his tax returns if he won (presidential candidates typically release their tax returns during the campaign). He never did, however, and after raising several excuses, later said the public “didn’t care” about his taxes.

Democrats hailed Thursday’s ruling.

The public has a right to see the returns, said Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.), chair of the Ways and Means oversight subcommittee.

“It has been 1,303 days since we made a legal demand for Trump’s tax returns ― nearly as long as the Civil War. I’ve been leading this fight and never given up. Americans deserve to know exactly how far Trump’s crimes go,” Pascrell noted on Twitter.

The law has always been on our side,” House Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard Neal (D-Mass.) said in a statement to Bloomberg. “Once again, the court has affirmed the strength of our position. We’ve waited long enough — we must begin our oversight of the IRS’s mandatory presidential audit program as soon as possible.”

Neal had requested six years’ worth of Trump’s returns from the Internal Revenue Service in 2019, citing a century-old law that allows the leaders of congressional tax committees to request the returns of any taxpayer from the Treasury Department. The committee sued when the department, under Trump, refused the request.

The appeals panel agreed with a lower court ruling that lawmakers had “a legitimate legislative purpose” in examining the records, which was to assess whether the current auditing system for presidents is sufficient.

It’s unclear if the Supreme Court would review the latest ruling — or if Trump would be successful. The Supreme Court ruled last year that Trump’s taxes could be turned over to a prosecutor in Manhattan.

Trump’s company, the Trump Organization, is currently on trial in Manhattan for a suspected tax-dodging scheme that involved payments to executives that included perks like pricey homes and cars that were allegedly unreported.

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