Attorneys for Donald Trump are making a last-ditch effort to prevent Congress from getting Trump's tax returns, a week after the Justice Department cleared them for release.
On Wednesday, Trump's lawyers urged a federal judge to block release of the tax returns from the Treasury Department to the House Ways and Means Committee, according to NBC News.
The lawyers argued that the committee's stated purposed of using Trump's returns in order to refine how the IRS audits presidents was just a pretext for alternative motives.
“While House Democrats had offered countless justifications for obtaining the president’s tax returns, no one at the time had ever mentioned a desire to find out how the IRS audits presidents," they wrote. The committee, they said, had only sought returns for one commander in chief and failed to ask the IRS for the "most relevant information—namely, how it audits presidents."
Democrats on the panel have been seeking tax returns for Trump and his businesses since 2019 and made a renewed push this year with the incoming Democratic administration.
While former Attorney General Bill Barr had inserted the Justice Department into the process in order to reject the committee’s request, last week the department’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) ordered Treasury to comply with the committee's request.
“We cannot know where receipt of the requested tax information will take the Committee, any more than the Committee itself can predict what it will find or determine," wrote OLC. "After reviewing and analyzing the information, it will be squarely within the Committee’s responsibility to decide whether or not to include some of that information in a report to the full House that might be available to the public."
Presidents always get audited by the IRS, but the audit is supposed to be done expeditiously. Trump's perennially specious claim that he couldn't publicly release his tax returns because they were under audit was part of what motivated the House Ways and Means Committee to seek review of the audit process.
Republished with permission from Daily Kos.