The occupier of the Oval Office is suing New York Attorney General Letitia James and the House Ways and Means Committee to block release of his state tax returns.
He has filed the suit as a private citizen. The state of New York passed a law this spring, signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo earlier this month, to authorize the state to share state tax information with congressional committees that request it. Trump’s suit says that the new law and the committee are intending to use the information for “political gain.”
The suit filed in the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., alleges that “New York legislators admitted that the TRUST Act’s purpose was to help the Committee expose the President’s private tax information for political gain; its purpose was their purpose.” The suit also says that the committee should be precluded from seeing state taxes because as its “jurisdiction is limited to federal taxes, no legislation could possibly result from a request for the President’s state tax returns. The Committee thus lacks a legitimate legislative purpose for using the TRUST Act.”
The TRUST Act does specify that records be provided to a committee “for a specific and legitimate legislative purpose,” but an investigation into whether a president is violating the Constitution’s emoluments clauses would have to be seen by any court as a legitimate purpose. Of course, the Ways and Means Committee would actually have to launch that investigation officially to make that defense, something Chairman Richard Neal seems in no hurry to do. In fact, so far he’s shown no inclination to do it.