The House Ways and Means Committee can obtain former President Donald Trump’s tax returns, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.
The decision was spurred by Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), the committee chairman, writing to the IRS in April 2019 requesting Trump’s federal income tax returns, saying the committee needed them to analyze the Presidential Audit Program. The Treasury Department rejected this request. The House then sued, renewing the lawsuit last year.
In the opinion, U.S. Court of Appeals Judge David Sentelle dismissed Trump’s claims that the request was politically motivated.
“The Chairman has identified a legitimate legislative purpose that it requires information to accomplish. At this stage, it is not our place to delve deeper than this,” Stentelle wrote. “The mere fact that individual members of Congress may have political motivations as well as legislative ones is of no moment. Indeed, it is likely rare that an individual member of Congress would work for a legislative purpose without considering the political implications.”
Trump can appeal the decision, as he did last December after a trial-level judge also ruled against him in this case. U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden, a Trump appointee, found then that the chairman was well within his authority.
“Congress has granted him this extraordinary power, and courts are loath to second guess congressional motives or duly enacted statutes,” he wrote. “The Court will not do so here and thus must dismiss this case.”
Trump will have seven days to appeal the ruling handed down on Tuesday.