A powerful Democrat-led House Commission is urging a federal judge to order Donald Trump to comply with a subpoena for his financial administration, arguing that he no longer has a viable claim to withhold material now that he does not is in the office, according to a well-known source with the matter.
The move of the House’s oversight committee, led by Chairman Carolyn Maloney, marks the Democrats’ latest salvo in their years of efforts to secure Trump’s tax returns and related documents, in a case that expands the scope and boundaries of the Congressional supervisory authority is testing.
If successful, the committee would be one step closer to obtaining Trump’s tax data and potentially making it public, the source said.
“While the committee’s need for the information summoned has not changed, one important fact is that Prosecutor Donald J. Trump is no longer the president,” Douglas Letter, general counsel for congressional Democrats, wrote in a motion last week in the United States. US district was filed. District of Columbia District Court.
“Because he is no longer the incumbent, the constitutional principles of separation of powers that formed the basis of the recent Supreme Court decision have been significantly diminished,” Letter wrote.
Prosecutors from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office in New York obtained the former president’s tax records in March, just hours after the Supreme Court denied its last-ditch effort to keep them hidden. But since they are part of a law enforcement investigation, they have not been released so far.
The thousands of documents transferred by Trump’s accounting firm Mazars USA include tax returns from January 2011 to August 2019, as well as financial statements, engagement letters, and financial disclosure statements, a spokesman for the prosecutor’s office said.
But in a separate decision last summer, the Supreme Court ruled that Congress could not see many of the same documents, saying the case should instead be returned to lower courts due to “significant concerns about the separation of powers” surrounding the matter.
However, the committee believes that now that Trump was absent, the concerns about the separation of powers that arose when he was subpoenaed by Congress as sitting president no longer apply, the source said.
If the committee is ultimately successful, it could pave the way for Trump’s tax returns to go public one day, as Congress is not constrained by grand jury secrecy rules that prevent the Manhattan District Attorney’s office from freeing the documents. except as evidence at trial.
A Trump spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
House Democrats and Trump have been in a bitterly contentious dispute since April 2019, when the committee first issued a subpoena to Mazars USA demanding 10 years of Trump’s financial administration led by the late Representative Elijah Cummings.
Maloney reissued the subpoena to Mazars USA earlier this year, after the first subpoena with the new Congress expired.
“For more than 22 months, the committee has been denying important information needed to take legislative action to address the one-time ethical crisis created by former President Trump’s unprecedented conflicts of interest,” Maloney said in a memo obtained at the time. by the Guardian.
“The committee’s need for this information – to verify key facts and tailor legal reforms to be as effective as possible – remains as compelling now as when the committee first issued its subpoena.”