fur donald trump the decision of the Supreme Court is likely to come at an inopportune time. Only a week ago he announced his repeated candidacy for the presidency in a large-scale speech, now he is again in the headlines with a legal dispute – and with a final defeat. For more than three years, the former president had tried to prevent the release of his tax documents to the Democratic-led committee in the House of Representatives responsible for tax policy. This has now failed in the highest instance with the rejected urgent application by the Supreme Court. Tuesday’s document, with just two sentences and no further justification, clears the way for the IRS to turn the documents over to the Congressional Committee. Specifically, it is about tax documents of Trump and his companies from the years 2013 to 2018.
It’s actually a tradition for American presidents to make their tax returns public. As late as 2014, Trump assured that if he ran for president, he would “definitely” submit it. Elected to office, he broke that promise, becoming the first president in four decades. His critics therefore suspect that the former businessman has something to hide. the democrats in the committee, however, do not justify the release of Trump’s tax documents with a possible criminal relevance. The documents are intended to test the state of accountability for presidents.
Will Trump’s tax returns be released?
A 2019 statement by the committee chair, Massachusetts Rep. Richard Neal, said little was known about the effectiveness of the IRS’s review of incumbent presidents’ tax records. On behalf of the American people, the committee must determine “whether this policy is being followed, and if so, whether these reviews are being conducted fully and appropriately.” For this it is necessary to see Trump’s tax returns.
Trump’s lawyers, on the other hand, accuse the committee of political motivation. The publication of the tax documents is unconstitutional and violates the separation of powers. This line of argument has been contradicted by all instances up to the Supreme Court. Democratic committee chair Neal initially did not comment on whether the tax returns would be made public. According to an anonymous source familiar with the process in the Washington Post, that won’t be decided until the paperwork is in. The New York Times reported during the 2020 election campaign that Trump paid no federal income tax for 11 of the 18 years between 2000 and 2019. In the years 2016 and 2017 he is said to have paid only $ 750 each.
According to Neal, the board will now “finally get the overview that we have been striving for for three and a half years”. But the committee doesn’t have much time to thoroughly review Trump’s six-year tax record. The new Congress meets in Washington on January 3rd. Then the Republicans will have a majority in the House of Representatives and it is very likely that the committee will put the request on hold under new leadership. After Trump’s urgent application, Neal had warned the Supreme Court not to get involved in the case and reminded them of the imminent change in the House of Representatives. Otherwise, Congress would have “little or no time to pursue its legislative work.” It is not yet clear when exactly the documents will be handed over to the committee. Trump’s lawyers argue that precisely because there is so little time left before the change in Congress, the documents cannot be processed conscientiously.
Trump, who is also the focus of attention for other judicial matters, did not initially respond to the Supreme Court’s decision. Instead, on his social network Truth Social, he attacked special counsel Jack Smith, who was appointed by the Justice Department last week to be responsible for future investigations against him. On the one hand, it is about Trump’s role in connection with the attempted prevented change of power after the 2020 presidential election, on the other hand, about the sealing documents that he from the white house to his Florida estate.
The dispute over Trump’s tax records began in 2019. At that time, the committee demanded that the documents be handed over for the first time, but the IRS refused to do so during the Trump presidency. Under Joe Biden the higher Ministry of Justice changed course. In October of this year, after a legal battle through various instances, the Washington Court of Appeals ruled that the tax documents should be handed over to the Legal Committee. At the beginning of November, however, Trump’s lawyers initially stopped the publication with an urgent application to the Supreme Court, which has now been dismissed. Last year, the Supreme Court rejected Trump’s request that financial records in his possession should not be handed over to the New York Attorney’s Office.