Tax returns for Donald Trump and several corporate entities tied to him, apparently including the LLC doing business as his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, that stretch across six years have been obtained by the House Ways and Means Committee — years after the panel first requested the materials in 2019 from the Treasury Department under a piece of federal law allowing committee members access to tax returns for individual Americans.
When the committee first made its request in the Trump era, the Treasury Department — still led at the time by Trump’s appointees — refused to comply. More recently, Trump sought protections from the courts, but the U.S. Supreme Court recently capped off that push with a refusal to block lower-court orders favoring the House. As reported on this site, before the Supreme Court’s refusal to — in specific terms — extend a delay of previous findings in favor of the House going into effect, the dispute moved through years of litigation at multiple levels of federal courts, including a temporary extension of the hold by Chief Justice John Roberts on the Supreme Court. There were no noted dissents in the court’s decision against keeping the lower-court rulings on hold.
The same piece of federal law that lets the committee access the tax returns also allows the documents to be published in the Congressional Record, although it’s unclear whether the panel might take such a path. The push for the docs was previously tied to an interest in examining IRS audits of presidents, in addition to general oversight. “Treasury has complied with last week’s court decision,” a departmental spokesperson told CNN. Committee chair Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.) declined to confirm whether the panel had the documents, citing provisions of the relevant federal rules that block him from discussing the “state of the returns,” CNN said. According to the CNN report revealing the returns were made available, the panel will be meeting Thursday for a briefing on the underpinning law.
Among the challenges has been whether the panel established a sufficiently legitimate legislative purpose for its push for the docs, and federal Judge Trevor McFadden was among those who concluded in the affirmative. “A long line of Supreme Court cases requires great deference to facially valid congressional inquiries. Even the special solicitude accorded former presidents does not alter the outcome,” McFadden said. “The committee need only state a valid legislative purpose. It has done so.”
Some of the former president’s tax records were previously obtained by New York City investigators in a separate investigation after Trump also failed before the Supreme Court to block their release. Elsewhere in the House, the Oversight Committee recently publicized details of Trump’s finances that indicate hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent by foreign government interests at Trump’s now defunct D.C. hotel at potentially critical times for U.S. policy towards those involved in the transactions — suggesting a conflict of interest on then-President Trump’s part.