Intrusion by Trump OK’d for House Battle on Tax Records

WASHINGTON (CN) — President Donald Trump can intervene in a case that seeks to lift the shroud over his tax records, a federal judge ruled Thursday.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., at a May 9, 2019, hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Trump, along with his revocable trust and seven of his other businesses, will now join the government as it opposes a lawsuit filed earlier this month by the House Ways and Means Committee.

“The returns would ‘shed light on exactly how [President Trump] and his businesses will be affected by the massive tax legislation he championed last year’ and help the committee identify specific portions of the tax code implicated by President Trump’s businesses,” the complaint states.

The committee, led by Representative Richard Neal, D-Mass., argue they cannot do their jobs without a better understanding of the president’s finances. 

“Without reviewing the requested return materials, the committee cannot ensure that the IRS’s audit process is functioning fairly and effectively, understand how provisions of the tax code are implicated by President Trump’s returns, or exercise its legislative judgment to determine whether changes to the code may be warranted,” the complaint states.

Precedent for congressional review of a president’s returns lies in the Nixon era. In 1977, Congress initiated the practice when an investigation uncovered President Richard Nixon had filed erroneous tax returns while in office.

U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden, who granted Trump’s motion to intervene Thursday, has presided over other cases between the president and  Democrats.

In June, the judge denied a request from the Democrat-controlled House to freeze military funds taken for construction of a wall at the southern border, arguing he lacked jurisdiction.

“While the Constitution bestows upon members of the House many powers, it does not grant them standing to hale the Executive Branch into court claiming a dilution of Congress’s legislative authority,” McFadden wrote at the time.

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