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In a unanimous decision on Tuesday, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 3-0 that the House Ways and Means Committee can obtain copies of Donald Trump’s tax returns from the IRS.
Trump and his lawyers have argue that the President did not have a legal obligation to release his returns. They also claim that the House committee’s inquiry was “retaliatory”, an assertion the Court rebuffed.
The twice-impeached former president also attempted to state that Congress’s efforts were a violation of his First Amendment rights. In its 33 page ruling, however, the Judges shot down that argument as well.
“The Trump Parties contend that Treasury’s intent to comply with the Chairman’s Request violates their First Amendment rights, because Treasury is politically motivated,” the ruling states.
“Those being investigated by Congress do not lose the protections of the First Amendment.”
Of the three Judges on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, two were appointed by Republican Presidents. Judge David Sentelle, who wrote the majority opinion, is a Reagan appointee.
Decision deals another massive blow to Trump
The decision from the Court comes less than 24 hours after the FBI raided Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate. In an unannounced raid on Monday, agents reportedly confiscated boxes of material believed to be classified documents. The Department of Justice and the FBI conducted the raid after reports that Trump had kept White House documents after leaving office, a violation of federal law.
Trump promised repeatedly during the 2016 and 2020 Presidential elections that he would release his tax returns. And yet, whenever given the opportunity, he refused to do so.
Now with a growing probe into what may be criminal actions by the former President, he may be on the verge of losing his immunity from intense financial scrutiny.
The Court says its judgement would not be issued for seven days, giving Trump until August 16th to appeal.