Former president Trump asks court to block release of tax returns to Congress

WASHINGTON (thehill): Former President Trump’s personal attorneys are asking a federal judge to block the release of his tax returns to Congress after the Biden administration issued a legal memo authorizing that the records be handed over to House Democrats who have been seeking the documents for two years.

In a court filing submitted Wednesday morning, Trump’s lawyers argued that the 2019 request from the House Ways and Means Committee to the Internal Revenue Service has no legitimate legislative purpose and that it is designed to “expose the private tax information of one individual — President Trump — for political gain.”

“The requests are tailored to, and in practical operation will affect, only President Trump,” the filing reads. “The requests single out President Trump because he is a Republican and a political opponent. They were made to retaliate against President Trump because of his policy positions, his political beliefs, and his protected speech, including the positions he took during the 2016 and 2020 campaigns.”

The brief argued that turning over the tax records would be a violation of Trump’s privacy and his First Amendment and other constitutional rights.

The committee sued the IRS in 2019 after the agency refused to comply with a request for Trump’s tax returns. The Trump administration and Trump’s personal legal team had fought back against numerous efforts to obtain the former president’s financial records, including law enforcement and congressional subpoenas.

Earlier this year, the Manhattan district attorney’s office obtained the records following a protracted court fight that twice reached the Supreme Court.

And last week, the Justice Department announced a reversal of its legal stance over the tax returns, saying in a memo that the Treasury Department must turn over the documents to Congress.

In their brief on Wednesday, Trump’s lawyers argued that Congress has limited authority to conduct investigations into private citizens and the requests for his records exceed those limits.

“’Oversight’ and ‘transparency,’ in a vacuum, are not legitimate purposes” to request private information, they argued.

“The primary purpose of the requests is to obtain and expose [Trump’s] information for the sake of exposure, to improperly conduct law enforcement, or some other impermissible goal—not to study federal legislation,” Trump’s attorneys added.

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