Jul 23, 2019

Trump sues House Democrats to block release of state tax returns

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against the House Ways and Means Committee, New York Attorney General Letitia James and New York tax commissioner Michael Schmidt in an effort to block them from releasing his state tax returns.

The big picture: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo last month signed a bill known as the TRUST Act that would permit tax officials to turn over Trump's state tax returns to any one of three congressional committees. Trump's lawsuit alleges that the House Ways and Means Committee's invocation of the TRUST Act would "lack a legitimate legislative purpose" and that the law itself violates the First Amendment because the state of New York "enacted it to discriminate and retaliate against President Trump for his speech and politics."

Details: Trump claims that House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal was initially reluctant to use the TRUST Act because the state tax returns have nothing to do with the reason he gave for requesting the president's federal returns: "investigating the mandatory presidential audit program at the IRS to determine whether or not the program needs to be codified into federal law."

  • The lawsuit adds that — under pressure from House Democrats — Neal has recently changed his tune and no longer opposes using the TRUST Act. If Neal were to invoke the law, Trump claims that it would prove he is "trying to expose the president's financial information for political gain, not to study the IRS's audit procedures."
  • The lawsuit states that the speed with which Neal could invoke the law and immediately obtain Trump's state tax returns is what prompted Trump to file the lawsuit.
  • Trump is demanding a permanent injunction to block the committee, the New York attorney general and the New York tax commissioner from exercising the law. He is also seeking declaratory judgments that the committee "lacks a legitimate legislative purpose" to obtain his state tax returns and that the TRUST Act violates the First Amendment.

Read the full lawsuit:

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Trump, RNC sue California over election law to release tax returns

Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump, his 2020 campaign and the RNC sued California Tuesday over its law that requires presidential and gubernatorial candidates to release their 5 most recent years' tax returns before they can appear on the state's primary ballot.

The big picture: The California law directly challenges Trump's continued refusal to release his tax returns, but the lawsuits argue it violates the Constitution by creating an extra requirement to become president.

Go deeperArrowAug 6, 2019

California governor signs law targeting Trump's tax returns, ballot eligibility

2020 candidates must release tax returns to appear on California primary ballot. Photo: Chen Mengtong/China News Service/VCG/Getty Images

California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law on Tuesday requiring all presidential and gubernatorial candidates to release their 5 most recent years' worth of tax returns in order to appear on the state's primary ballot.

Why it matters: The move makes California the first state to demand the disclosure from candidates, according to reporter Yashar Ali. If a contender refuses, they will not be included on the primary ballot. The law was passed in hopes of pressuring President Trump to make his filings public — a battle House Democrats and other states have thus far failed to win.

Go deeperArrowJul 30, 2019

Democratic state AGs are leading the Resistance

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

State attorneys general have become some of the most powerful forces fighting the Trump White House — pushing back against its agenda on hot topics like immigration, energy, health care and more.

Why it matters: With little legislative action happening in Congress, the executive branch has taken into its own hands implementing the White House agenda. Those efforts have been increasingly challenged by attorneys general — usually Democrats — and some have been blocked by the courts.

Go deeperArrowJul 31, 2019