Updated Nov 22, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court clears way for House Democrats to get Trump tax returns

Former President Trump in Dallas in August 2022.

Former President Trump in Dallas in August 2022. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Tuesday denied former President Trump's emergency application asking it to block a Democratic-led House committee from obtaining his tax returns.

Why it matters: The denial allows Trump's tax returns to be released to the House Ways and Means Committee, which has been attempting for years to obtain them from the Internal Revenue Service as part of its investigation into the service’s presidential audit program.

The big picture: Trump, who has been fighting for years to block the release of his tax returns, requested the high court weigh in after a federal appeals court also declined one of his requests to block the release of the documents.

  • In 2019, after the Treasury Department denied the House Ways and Means Committee's request to turn over the records, its chair Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.) filed a lawsuit enforcing its inquiry.
  • Lawyers for Trump have argued that the committee does not have a legitimate legislative purpose for the documents and seeks only to publish them.
  • The Department of Justice under the Biden administration argued in a 2021 opinion that the committee's request was legitimate and the Trump-era Treasury Department had no valid reason to refuse it.

What they're saying: "The House looks forward to promptly receiving and reviewing these documents," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement.

  • "These documents are vital to meeting the House’s Constitutional mandate: guarding the public interest, defending our national security and holding our public officials to account," she said, adding that "Congress must enact legislation requiring Presidents and candidates for President to disclose their tax returns."

The other side: Trump wrote in response to the court's decision on his Truth Social platform early Wednesday that the Supreme Court "has lost its honor, prestige, and standing, & has become nothing more than a political body."

Worth noting: Trump appointed three of the justices who serve on the Supreme Court bench.

What to watch: Republicans, who narrowly won control of the House in the next Congress, could scrap the Ways and Means Committee's investigation.

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Editor's note: This story has been updated with new details throughout.

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