Dec 14, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Judge: Trump's tax returns can be released to Congress

Photo of Donald Trump speaking into a mic
Photo: Douglas P. DeFelice via Getty Images

A federal judge ruled Tuesday that former President Trump cannot shield his tax returns from congressional Democrats.

Why it matters: Trump's tax returns are the subject of an inquiry by the House Committee on Ways and Means. He has fought the release to the panel for over two years.

  • The committee has said it plans to use Trump's tax returns to assess the IRS’ presidential audit program, though Trump claims it actually wants to publish them.

What he's saying: "It might not be right or wise to publish the returns, but it is the [committee] Chairman’s right to do so," wrote Judge Trevor McFadden, a Trump-nominated judge on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

  • "Congress has granted him this extraordinary power, and courts are loath to second guess congressional motives or duly enacted statutes."
  • "Even the special solicitude accorded former Presidents does not alter the outcome," McFadden wrote in the 45-page ruling.

Worth noting: The Justice Department told the Treasury Department in July that it "must" release Trump's tax returns to the committee, which it said has a "legitimate legislative purpose."

What's next: Trump has 14 days to appeal the decision.

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