A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled Tuesday that the Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee can request and obtain former President Donald Trump’s tax returns from the Internal Revenue Service.
“While it is possible that Congress may attempt to threaten the sitting President with an invasive request after leaving office, every President takes office knowing that he will be subject to the same laws as all other citizens upon leaving office,” Senior Circuit Judge David Sentelle wrote in the 3-0 ruling.
“This is a feature of our democratic republic, not a bug,” Sentelle added.
The judges rejected arguments by lawyers representing the former president that the committee’s request should be denied because of the political motives behind it, Reuters reported.
“When the Committee makes a request that is within its authority to make, i.e., within Congress’s investigative power, the Secretary does not have a choice as to whether to provide the information,” the ruling said.
in 2019, the Democrat-led Ways and Means Committee sued the Trump administration’s Treasury Department to force it to release his tax returns. The dispute continued till the end of Trump’s presidency.
In 2021, the Biden administration’s Treasury Department expressed willingness to hand the committee the documents it requested in response to a renewed request, The Washington Post reported.
Trump, however, sued to stop the Treasury Department from making the disclosure, the Post reported.
In December 2021, according to Reuters, a district judge ruled that the legislative interest of Congress in Trump’s tax returns had greater priority over any deference to the disclosure to which the former president was entitled.
Trump appealed the court’s decision, resulting in the case eventually reaching the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The Ways and Means Committee and Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi welcomed the court’s ruling.
“We expect to receive the requested tax returns and audit files immediately,” the Committee said in a Tuesday post on its official Twitter account.
🚨 🚨 🚨 BREAKING: The DC Court of Appeals has just ruled that the law is on our side in seeking Trump’s tax returns. We expect to receive the requested tax returns and audit files immediately.https://t.co/FYzFzYrxF8
— Ways & Means Committee (@WaysMeansCmte) August 9, 2022
“Today’s decision ordering the release of Donald Trump’s tax returns to the House Ways and Means Committee is an important victory for the rule of law,” Pelosi said on Twitter.
“Access to the former president’s tax returns is crucial to upholding the public interest, our national security & our Democracy.”
“We look forward to the IRS complying with this ruling and delivering the requested documents so that Ways and Means can begin its oversight responsibilities of the mandatory presidential audit program,” she said.
We look forward to the IRS complying with this ruling and delivering the requested documents so that Ways and Means can begin its oversight responsibilities of the mandatory presidential audit program.
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) August 9, 2022
“With great patience, we followed the judicial process, and yet again, our position has been affirmed by the Courts,” Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Richard Neal, chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, said in a statement.
“I’m pleased that this long-anticipated opinion makes clear the law is on our side. When we receive the returns, we will begin our oversight of the IRS’s mandatory presidential audit program,” he added.
According to CNN, the judges said the ruling would not be issued for seven days, giving Trump time to file an appeal.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.