A three-year legal battle between Congress and former President Donald Trump finally wrapped up yesterday when the Supreme Court ordered that Trump’s tax returns must be turned over to the House Ways and Means Committee.
The financial documents of the former President were first subpoenaed in 2019, and the two sides fought over their release all the way to the highest court in the land, who finally ruled in favor of Congress with no dissenting votes.
“We knew the strength of our case, we stayed the course, followed the advice of counsel, and finally, our case has been affirmed by the highest court in the land,” House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal said in a statement after the ruling. “Since the Magna Carta, the principle of oversight has been upheld, and today is no different. This rises above politics, and the committee will now conduct the oversight that we’ve sought for the last three and a half years.”
A spokesperson for the United States Treasury told CNN that they “will comply with the Court of Appeals’ decision,” but it is currently unknown when exactly the documents might reach Congress.
With Republicans set to take over as the House majority on January 3, the clock is obviously ticking for Democrats to get their long-awaited look at the tax returns Trump initially promised to release publicly during his campaign for the Presidency in 2016, as is the longtime norm for Presidential candidates.
However, Trump repeatedly stalled on delivering on that promise until it finally became clear he had no intention of doing so.
In their filing before the Supreme Court, House lawyer Douglas Letter urged the court to end the delays and allow the committee to move forward with their oversight investigation, a probe into whether the Internal Revenue Service can apply federal tax laws to Presidents both effectively and impartially.
“Mr. Trump owned a complex web of businesses, engaged in business activities internationally, had a history of aggressive tax avoidance (as he has boasted), claimed to be under ‘continuous audit’ since before his Presidency, and repeatedly denounced IRS audits of him as ‘unfair,’” Letter wrote, adding that the investigations concerns were “amplified” by Trump’s tenure in the White House.
The three Supreme Court justices on the panel that heard the case were all Trump nominees and rejected the Trump legal team’s assertion that the motivation for the subpoena was a thinly-veiled political play, agreeing that there was sound legal standing in service of the House’s probe.