The House Ways and Means Committee has asked a federal appeals court to issue a mandate that would let the committee get President Donald Trump’s tax returns from the Treasury Department.
Trump and his business entities are planning to ask for a rehearing after the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit ruled against them this week, according to the committee’s Thursday motion. Nonetheless, the committee asked the court to “immediately issue” a mandate to enable the documents transfer.
“Realistically, a months-long delay in issuance of the mandate could entirely inhibit this Congress’s ability to act on the requested information,” the committee said in its motion.
Ways and Means Chair Richard Neal (D-Mass) told reporters on Friday that he has long expected a “prolonged” court battle over Trump’s tax returns. A drawn-out court process going forward could mean the committee won’t get the returns before a new Congress is sworn in on Jan. 3; in that case, the committee’s pursuit could end if Republicans retake the House.
The committee highlighted the tight timeline it faces in asking for an immediate mandate, writing that under the court’s current order the mandate wouldn’t be issued before Sept. 30, and a Trump rehearing request would push things back further.
“Either way—but especially if the Trump Parties seek rehearing, which they have stated they will do—there would be little time left in the current congressional term by the time the mandate issues,” it said.
Getting the requested information would let the committee assess whether legislation is needed to “address potentially significant problems with the Presidential Audit Program, presidential conflicts of interest, or other matters in the public interest,” it said.
Cameron T. Norris of Consovoy McCarthy PLLC, who represents Trump and his entities, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
The case is Committee on Ways and Means v. U.S. Dep’t of the Treasury, D.C. Cir., No. 21-5289, 8/11/22.
—With assistance from Naomi Jagoda.