(WASHINGTON) — The House Ways and Means Committee has received access to former President Donald Trump’s tax returns after the Supreme Court last week rejected his final objection on the issue.
“Treasury has complied with last week’s court decision,” said a spokesperson for the department that includes the Internal Revenue Service in possession of Trump’s confidential tax returns, which he has long resisted disclosing, unlike past presidents.
The chairman of the House committee, Richard Neal, declined to comment earlier Wednesday when asked if the panel had officially received the documents. But he said the committee intended to see the investigation through, despite the ticking clock before the new Congress begins in early January.
Neal, D-Mass., will surrender chairmanship of his committee to a Republican in January after the GOP won majority control of the House in the midterm elections.
He said the next step would be to have a meeting of the Democratic caucus. He wouldn’t say whether the committee planned to release the tax documents publicly.
The committee had requested six years’ worth of Trump’s returns as part of an investigation into IRS audit practices of presidents and vice presidents.
In his petition to the Supreme Court, Trump accused the committee of seeking his taxes under false pretenses.
Court cleared the way for Trump to turn over taxes
The Supreme Court on Nov. 22 denied Trump’s request to block an appeals court order that he surrender his tax returns and other financial records to the House Ways and Means Committee.
The court offered no explanation for its decision and there was no noted dissent or vote breakdown. It marked the fourth time Trump has lost a high court appeal related to requests for his taxes.
The move was the end of the road for Trump in the yearslong saga of congressional subpoenas for his tax records in the stated interest of drafting oversight legislation.
The Democratic-controlled committee argued that — by the Supreme Court’s own guidelines laid out in a 2020 ruling in the same ongoing dispute — judges must defer to the legitimate legislative purpose behind a request for information. They said that standard was plainly met in this case.
“We knew the strength of our case, we stayed the course, followed the advice of counsel, and finally, our case has been affirmed by the highest court in the land,” Neal said last week. “Since the Magna Carta, the principle of oversight has been upheld, and today is no different. This rises above politics, and the Committee will now conduct the oversight that we’ve sought for the last three and a half years.”
While Trump has claimed the subpoena is a politically motivated fishing expedition, the committee said the documents were critical for drafting “legislation on equitable tax administration, including legislation on the President’s tax compliance.”
On Nov. 1, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts granted a temporary administrative stay of a lower court order regarding Trump’s tax returns and other financial records. On Nov. 22, Roberts officially lifted that stay.
Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.