Accountants must give the House some of Trump's financial data, according to a judge's rules.

WASHINGTON – Former President Donald J. Trump’s accounting firm to provide Congress with tax and financial records for his time in the W...


WASHINGTON – Former President Donald J. Trump’s accounting firm to provide Congress with tax and financial records for his time in the White House, and for a longer period regarding his lease on a government-owned building for a hotel , ruled Wednesday a judge. in a long legal battle over a subpoena of the House.

But in its 53-page reviewDistrict of Columbia Federal District Court Judge Amit P. Mehta also ruled that the House Committee on Oversight and Reform was not entitled to other financial documents spanning years before entry according to Mr. Trump. The panel had issued a large request for records dating back to 2011.

“In today’s polarized political climate, it’s not hard to imagine the incentives a Congress would have to threaten or influence a sitting president with an equally robust subpoena, issued after he leaves office. functions, in order to “grow at the expense of the president,” Judge Mehta wrote, citing a Supreme Court decision Last year.

He added: “In the court’s opinion, this not insignificant risk to the institution of the presidency outweighs the committee’s progressive legislative need for subpoenaed documents” of the accountants.

The split decision means either or both parties can appeal Judge Mehta’s ruling, so the case may not be resolved any time soon. But in one regard, the stakes have been lowered: The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office this year obtained similar files from Mr. Trump’s accounting firm Mazars USA after Supreme Court rejected Mr. Trump’s efforts block their release.

The dispute arose out of Mr. Trump’s refusal, breaking with modern precedent, to make his tax returns public when he ran for president and once in office. After Democrats took control of the House in 2019, the Oversight and Reform Committee issued a subpoena for Mazars’ files and separately requested copies of his tax returns from the Treasury Department.

But Mr Trump has vowed to block all subpoenas from House Democrats, and his personal attorneys and the Trump-era Justice Department have fought the efforts in court, appealing losses and missing. essentially exposing its financial transactions to outside scrutiny ahead of its defeat in the 2020 election.

At an earlier stage of the case, Judge Mehta granted the entire committee’s request as a legitimate exercise of congressional oversight power, dismissing Mr. Trump’s argument that he should be declared invalid as a politically motivated effort to harass him.

Mr. Trump’s attorneys appealed, and a District of Columbia appeals court upheld Judge Mehta’s ruling. But last year the Supreme Court referred the case for further analysis by lower courts, asking them to put more emphasis on whether Congress had a legitimate need for the documents it sought or whether it was encroaching on presidential prerogatives.

“This court previously allowed President Trump’s Financial Records Committee’s request to continue unqualified,” Judge Mehta wrote. But “with the greatest scrutiny required” by the Supreme Court, he said, it “cannot now go that far.”

Judge Mehta divided the cases the committee was looking for into three categories, granting some but rejecting others.

One category was financial data on the government’s rental of the former post office in Washington to Mr. Trump’s hotel organization in 2013. Noting that Mr. Trump had chosen not to relinquish this lease when he became president, Judge Mehta ruled that Congress could see information from both before Mr. Trump became president and while he was in office.

“The decision to bid on the lease was completely voluntary, as was the decision to sign it and be bound by its terms. The same goes for President Trump’s choice not to cede his interest in the lease upon entering public service, “he wrote, adding:” A presidential candidate may choose not to contract with the federal government, or may cede its interests upon taking office, and thus avoid the scrutiny that accompanies it.

The second category was data on Mr. Trump’s finances while he was in office. Judge Mehta ruled that the committee could see these records as well, accepting as convincing the House’s assertion that it should consider them as part of considering whether the existing rules to enforce the ban. of the Constitution to presidents to take foreign “emoluments” during their mandate are sufficient.

But he rejected Congress’ right to extensively review Mr. Trump’s financial records for the years before he became a public official, citing the Supreme Court’s concerns and saying he was not convinced that access to documents was necessary for the rationale declared by lawmakers: to weigh whether new candidate disclosure laws are needed.

A lawyer for Mr. Trump did not respond to a request for comment, including on whether his client would appeal the part of the ruling that was unfavorable to him.

The chair of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Democrat of New York, praised the part of the ruling that upheld parts of her panel’s summons.

“Former President Trump’s opaque financial dealings have led to an unprecedented federal ethical crisis,” Maloney said in a statement. “Today’s district court opinion recognized that the Oversight Committee is entitled to a wide range of President Trump’s financial records as part of our critical investigation to prevent presidential conflicts of interest, personal transactions and constitutional violations. “

She expressed disappointment at the part of the decision that reduced what the committee could get, but did not say whether it would appeal that part, saying only that it was “actively considering the next steps.”

Nicolas fandos contributed reports.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Accountants must give the House some of Trump's financial data, according to a judge's rules.
Accountants must give the House some of Trump's financial data, according to a judge's rules.
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