Nov 18, 2019

WaPo: Bipartisan senators reviewing IRS whistleblower complaint

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Staff for Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) are looking into a July whistleblower allegation related to possible interference with an audit of President Trump's or Vice President Mike Pence's tax returns, the Washington Post reports.

What we know: Staffers met this month with the whistleblower, who reportedly claims that at least one political appointee inside the Treasury Department may have attempted to interfere with an audit process, according to the Post. Follow-up interviews are expected, but it's not yet clear if the senators have deemed the whistleblower credible. The Trump administration has suggested the whistleblower is acting on political motivations.

  • The whistleblower is known to be a career IRS official. They claim to have received word of the audit interference secondhand and recently filed additional documentation related to their original complaint, per the Post.
  • Details of the additional documents are unknown. The complaint was first disclosed by House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) in an August court filing.

Between the lines: Trump has faced calls to release his tax returns since the 2016 election. He originally claimed that ongoing audits prevented him from disclosing his tax returns to the public.

  • Various House investigations, including an ongoing lawsuit filed by Neal's Ways and Means Committee, have demanded access to the returns.
  • Trump's private legal team has asked the Supreme Court to block subpoenas for the tax returns from both House Democrats and New York prosecutors.
  • On Monday, the Supreme Court issued an administrative stay blocking House Democrats' subpoena until both sides can file the necessary legal papers. It has not yet made a decision on the subpoena from Manhattan's district attorney.

What to watch: Rhetoric used by Trump to attempt to delegitimize the whistleblower in the ongoing Ukraine investigation could easily translate to this scenario, too.

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DOJ supports Trump's fight to prevent tax return disclosure

President Trump. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Justice Department said it supported President Trump's Supreme Court fight to block his tax returns from being disclosed to a New York prosecutor, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: The court filing comes one week after Trump filed an appeal individually to reverse a lower court's ruling that directed his accounting firm, Mazars LLP, to hand eight years worth of tax returns to the prosecutor. Separately, the Supreme Court temporarily blocked the House's subpoena for Trump's tax returns this week.

Go deeper: Trump lawyer argues the president can't be prosecuted for shooting someone

Keep ReadingArrowNov 23, 2019

California strikes down law requiring presidential tax returns to appear on ballot

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The California Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously ruled against a law requiring presidential and gubernatorial candidates to disclose their past five years of tax returns for a spot on the state's primary ballot, per the Sacramento Bee.

Why it matters: California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the bill in July in an effort to compel Trump to release his tax returns. While campaigning in 2016, Trump argued he could not release the records because he was under audit. The chairwoman of the California Republican Party sued over the law, sending the matter to the state's high court.

Go deeperArrowNov 21, 2019

Supreme Court temporarily blocks House subpoena for Trump's tax returns

Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Monday issued an administrative stay blocking House Democrats' subpoena for President Trump's tax returns until both sides can file the necessary legal papers.

Why it matters: The lower court order compelling Trump's longtime accounting firm Mazars USA to turn over the president's financial records will be delayed until the Supreme Court decides whether to take up Trump's appeal. Trump has requested that the Supreme Court protect his financial records from both House investigators and the Manhattan district attorney's office, which is conducting a criminal investigation.