Former President Donald Trump is seeking a court order to block the IRS from releasing his tax returns to a House committee.
Last week, the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel said that the Treasury Department must release the returns, concluding that the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee had shown “sufficient reasons” for requesting them.
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But in a filing in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia, Trump’s legal team is challenging their release, arguing that the “primary purpose” for the congresssional request is “for the sake of exposure, to improperly conduct law enforcement, or some other impermissible goal—not to study federal legislation.”
The chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA), requested the returns and said that the committee had “serious concerns about the IRS’s full and fair administration of the tax laws with respect to a President and believes legislation may be needed in this area.”
But Trump’s attorneys argued that Neal’s “legislative purpose lacks a basis in evidence and is admittedly pretextual. Passing broad reforms that the Chairman has already identified does not justify the significant step of requesting a President’s records. Other sources could provide the needed information, especially since Defendants are now so eager to disclose information about presidential audits.”
Trump’s attorneys also argued that the requests violate the First Amendment.
“The requests single out President Trump because he is a Republican and a political opponent,” they wrote. “They were made to retaliate against President Trump because of his policy positions, his political beliefs, and his protected speech, including the positions he took during the 2016 and 2020 campaigns.”
The former president’s attorneys are seeking, among other things, a permanent injunction ordering the House committee “to end all ongoing examinations of Intervenors.”
Trump declined to release his returns in the 2016 presidential campaign and since then, claiming that he was being subjected to an IRS audit.
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