(NewsGlobal.com)- Members of the House may soon gain access to the tax records of former President Donald Trump after the Supreme Court refused a request from Trump to prevent those documents from being released.
The high court released the unsigned order this week, without noting any dissents. It’s a huge blow to Trump, who appointed three of the conservative justices on the Supreme Court while he was president.
The House has been seeking Trump’s financial records since back in 2019. This week’s decision by the Supreme Court means the Treasury Department likely will soon turn over his tax returns for a six-year period.
Democratic Representative Richard Neal from Massachusetts originally requested access to Trump’s tax files, in his role as the House Ways and Means Committee chairman. In a statement after the decision was announced, Neal said that the panel he leads would “now conduct the oversight that we’ve sought for the last three and a half years.”
In his statement, Neal didn’t mention whether the House committee had any intentions of publishing Trump’s tax returns. An aide who serves on the committee, who wanted to remain anonymous, told The New York Times that the decision wouldn’t be made before the lawmakers had a chance to go through the documents.
Trump and his legal team have successfully delayed this matter for almost four years, and they actually just fell short of delaying it enough for it to be dropped altogether. Republicans would almost assuredly drop the investigation altogether once they take control of the House, but that won’t happen until January 3, 2023.
While the time until that happens is dwindling, it appears as though the Democrat-led lower chamber will be able to get their hands on Trump’s tax returns before they’re no longer in power.
Trump’s lawyers argued that the Supreme Court justices should extend a stay that was put in place by a lower court that blocked Treasury from handing over the tax documents. The lawyers said that would give them enough time to properly pursue a full appeal to the high court.
Douglas Letter, who has served as the House’s chief lawyer in the case, argued on the other side, saying the Supreme Court shouldn’t intervene because the new Congress would be convening in the near future.
In the brief that he filed recently, Letter wrote a further delay “would leave the committee and Congress as a whole little or no time to complete their legislative work.”
The House first pursued Trump’s tax records back in 2016, when he refused to make them public. When he did that, he was breaking precedent set by modern sitting presidents and presidential candidates who all made their tax returns public.
The House began their oversight efforts in 2019 when the Democrats took control of the lower chamber. Part of that oversight included gaining testimony from Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal lawyer, who testified that Trump often boasted that he inflated the value of his assets when it best served him — such as when he was applying for loans — and then undervalued them at other opportune times when it helped him to lower his tax burden.