Sat. Dec 3rd, 2022

The United States Supreme Court rejected former President Donald Trump’s attempt to prevent the Treasury Department from handing over his tax returns to a Democratic-controlled congressional committee.

The move is a major blow to Trump, who has tried for years to prevent his tax returns from becoming public. He is the only president in 40 years to refuse to release documents — either during his 2016 presidential race or during his four years in the White House. He claimed it was due to an ongoing IRS audit.

The House Ways and Means Committee, which is fighting to see a return from 2019, says it needs the documents to consider potential presidential tax compliance and public accountability legislation.

This is Trump’s second Supreme Court loss in as many months, and his third this year. In October, a court declined to intervene in a legal battle over an FBI search of his Florida estate that uncovered classified documents.

In January, a court refused to prevent the National Archives from turning over documents to a House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. Justice Clarence Thomas was the only vote in Trump’s favor.

In a dispute over his tax returns, the Treasury Department has refused to release records during Trump’s presidency. But the Biden administration said federal law is clear that the board has the right to examine any taxpayer filing, including the president’s.

Lower courts agreed that the committee had broad authority to obtain tax returns and rejected Trump’s claims that he overreached and only wanted the documents so they could be made public.

Chief Justice John Roberts imposed the temporary freeze on Nov. 1 to allow the court to weigh legal questions raised by Trump’s lawyers and counterarguments from the administration and the House of Representatives.

Just over three weeks later, the court lifted Roberts’ order without comment.

Congressman Richard Neal, the Massachusetts Democrat who heads the committee until the next Congress begins in January, said in a statement that his committee “will now carry out the oversight we have sought for the last three and a half years.”