US: Supreme Court greenlights release of Trump's tax returns
Washington, Nov 23: Former US President Donald Trump on Tuesday lost a legal bid to prevent the release of his tax returns to a congressional committee.
The US Supreme Court denied Trump an emergency application seeking to prevent the Treasury Department from releasing six years of tax returns.
The Democrat-controlled House Ways and Means Committee has been seeking tax returns from Trump and some of his businesses since 2019.
Trump's tax return legal battle
While president, Trump broke precedence by refusing to make his tax records public. During Trump's presidential term the Treasury Department had refused to release the records.
In 2019, the Democrat-controlled Congress sued the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service demanding access to the records.
Trump's lawyers have argued that the the Ways and Means Committee lacks a legal basis for requesting the tax returns. Then-Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that the documents being sought by Democrats for partisan reasons.
The Biden administration has argued that under federal law, the committee has the right to peruse taxpayer returns including those of the president.
The legal victory for Democrats comes shortly before Republicans again take control of Congress in January, after which the request almost certainly would have been dropped.
However, the committee now has little time left to analyze the returns to determine if Trump or his businesses broke tax law.
Richard Neal, Massachusetts Democrat and committee chairman until the next Congress begins in January, said in the a statement that the committee "will now conduct the oversight that we've sought for the last three and a half years.''
Trump under legal pressure
The ruling Tuesday is Trump's second Supreme Court defeat in the past two months.
In October, Trump asked the court to intervene in his legal battle over classified documents that were seized at his Mar-a-Lago mansion on August 8. The request was denied by the court.
Also last month, the Trump Organization went on trial for tax evasion.
The company, currently run by Trump's older sons, Donald Jr. and Eric Trump, is charged with hiding compensation it paid to top executives between 2005 and 2021 by prosecutors in Manhattan.
Trump has dismissed the trial as a political stunt and denounced the charges as a "witch hunt" by rivals.