Tax and Financial Records Case

House Ways & Means Case

Major Issue: Whether the House Ways & Means Committee can secure judicial enforcement of its request to the Treasury Department to produce copies of the President’s federal tax returns.

Case Status:  Awaiting appeals court decision.

Case Description:  On July 2, 2019, the House Ways & Means Committee filed suit in D.C. federal district court to obtain copies of Trump tax returns from the Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS).  Comm. on Ways & Means v. U.S. Dept. of Treasury.  Prior to filing the lawsuit, the committee had requested copies of the returns under Internal Revenue Code Section 6103(f) which states that the Treasury Department “shall furnish” any tax return requested in writing by the Ways & Means Committee.  When Treasury refused to comply with the law, the committee issued a subpoena seeking the same tax returns, but Treasury again refused to provide them, leading to the lawsuit.  President Trump filed a motion to intervene and was added as a party to the case. 

Procedural Posture: Case No. 19-cv-1974 was assigned to D.C. District Court Judge Trevor McFadden.  The House committee moved for summary judgment.  President Trump and the Treasury Department, represented by the Department of Justice (DOJ), moved to dismiss the case.  On Nov. 6, 2019, the district court heard oral argument on both motions, but on Jan. 14, 2020, issued an order staying further proceedings pending a decision by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in the McGahn case which was settled over a year later in July 2021. 

On July 30, 2021, under the new Biden Administration, DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel instructed the Treasury Department to produce the Trump tax returns to the House committee. 

On Aug. 5, 2021, at the request of both Congress and the Treasury Department, the court dismissed the claims of the Ways & Means Committee against Treasury. However, former President Trump, as intervenor, filed counterclaims to block release of his tax returns to the House committee. On Sept. 9, 2021, both the Ways & Means Committee and the Treasury Department filed motions to dismiss the counterclaims.

On December 14, 2021, the District Court issued an opinion dismissing the Trump counterclaims.  On the same day, Mr. Trump filed an appeal in the D.C. Circuit Court.  On December 20, 2021, Mr. Trump filed an emergency motion in the District Court requesting a stay pending appeal and set forth an expedited briefing schedule in the D.C. Circuit.  The District Court granted the stay.  

On December 17, 2021, Mr. Trump appealed the District Court’s dismal of counterclaims seeking to prevent the Department of Treasury from releasing his tax returns to the House Committee on Ways and Means.  On December 27, 2021, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals granted a motion to expedite the case.  The parties filed briefs on February 7, 2022.

On July 2, 2019, the House Ways & Means Committee filed suit in D.C. federal district court to obtain copies of Trump tax returns from the Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS).  Comm. on Ways & Means v. U.S. Dept. of Treasury.  President Trump filed a motion to intervene and was added as a party to the case.  On Aug. 20, 2019, the House committee moved for summary judgment.  On Sept. 6, 2019, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and President Trump moved for dismissal of the case.

On Nov. 6, 2019, the district court heard oral argument on the matter.  Subsequent to oral argument, the parties provided comments on two new D.C. Circuit rulings that could impact the case, one involving a House subpoena served on President Trump’s accountant, Mazars USA, and the other involving a House subpoena served on former White House counsel Donald McGahn.  On Jan. 14, 2020, the district court issued a one-paragraph order staying further proceedings pending a decision by the D.C. Circuit Court in the McGahn case. 

After a series of postponements, on July 30, 2021, under the new Biden Administration, DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel reversed its previous position and instructed the Treasury Department to produce the Trump returns to the House committee.

On Aug. 4, 2021, the House moved to dismiss its claims against the Treasury Department, and on Aug. 5, the district court dismissed them. However, former President Trump filed counterclaims seeking to block production of his tax returns to Congress. On Sept. 9, 2021, both the Ways & Means Committee and the Treasury Department filed motions to dismiss the counterclaims. On Sept. 28, 2021, former President Trump amended his counterclaims, and on October 12, 2021, the Ways & Means Committee and Treasury Department moved to dismiss them. On Nov. 8, 2021, the district court held oral argument. On December 14, 2021, the district court issued an opinion dismissing the Trump counterclaims, but also delaying production of his tax returns to Congress to give Mr. Trump an opportunity to file an appeal.

On the same day, Mr. Trump filed an appeal in the D.C. Circuit Court.  On December 20, 2021, Mr. Trump filed an emergency motion in the District Court requesting a stay pending appeal and set forth an expedited briefing schedule in the D.C. Circuit.  The District Court granted the stay.  

Under the Trump Administration

Under the Biden Administration

On December 17, 2021, Mr. Trump filed an appeal with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals arguing the Committee’s request for Mr. Trump’s tax returns lacked a valid legislative purpose and violated separation of powers principles.  A three judge panel, with Judges LeCraft Henderson, Sentelle, and Wilkins, was assigned to Case No. 21-5289.  The panel held oral argument on March 24, 2022.

No proceedings to date.