New York state sues Trump administration for ‘failing to respond to records requests’

The controversial policy change allows groups like the NRA to no longer disclose certain donors to the IRS

Chris Riotta
New York
Tuesday 07 May 2019 01:05 BST
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New York’s attorney general has announced a new lawsuit against Donald Trump’s administration for allegedly failing to respond to records requests.

In a statement posted to Twitter, Attorney General Letitia James said Monday her office was suing the Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Services in an effort to force both agencies into complying with the law.

“We've filed a lawsuit against the Trump Treasury Department & IRS for failing to respond to records requests as required by law,” Ms James said. “The agency eliminated donor disclosure requirements for tax-exempt groups [and] refuses to comply [with] the law to explain the rationale for these changes.”

The move follows a major change at the Treasury Department last year in which certain non-profit groups were no longer required to disclose donor names to the IRS, so long as the contributions were $5,000 (£3,816) or more from the contributor’s annual tax returns and the receiving group does not receive tax-deductible donations.

Politically-active organisations like the National Rifle Association and others were impacted by the change.

The administration did not specifically state what prompted the change, though it defended itself against accusations that foreign donations could be increasingly concealed from federal oversight.

“Americans shouldn’t be required to send the IRS information that it doesn’t need to effectively enforce our tax laws,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a July 2018 statement.

He added, “The IRS simply does not need tax returns with donor names and addresses to do its job in this area”.

The US Chamber of Commerce also said the rule change would ultimately reduce filings for the federal government.

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This is not the first lawsuit New York state has filed against Mr Trump or his administration. The attorney general also sued the president — along with his foundation and three of his children — for allegedly using his nonprofit as a personal “checkbook” during the 2016 campaign.

Under former Attorney General Barbara Underwood, the state conducted a 21-month investigation that found “extensive unlawful political coordination” between the campaign and foundation, including “repeated and willful self-dealing” that benefited the president’s personal, political and business interests.

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