CNBC reported that the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel said in an opinion that the House Ways and Means Committee had made a request with a legitimate legislative purpose to see the former president’s tax returns.
“The statute at issue here is unambiguous: ‘Upon written request’ of the chairman of one of the three congressional tax committees, the Secretary ‘shall furnish’ the requested tax information to the Committee,” the opinion stated.
Mr Trump successfully managed to block the House Ways and Means Committee from obtaining his records during his presidency. He later attempted to block the release, appealing the issue to the US Supreme Court, which ultimately ruled against him. The former president broke precedent when he refused to release his tax returns during his candidacy.
The DOJ’s opinion states that tax information for any member of the Executive Branch should be only be withheld from Congress under “exceptional circumstances” or when a request has no “legislative purpose”.
The Department of Justice said the House Ways and Means Committee “has invoked sufficient reasons for requesting the former President’s tax information”.
The ruling is the latest development in the more than a yearlong fight by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office to gain access to the returns for its investigation into the Trump Organization.
“The Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee has invoked sufficient reasons for requesting the former President’s tax information,” the DoOJ opinion said. “[The] Treasury must furnish the information to the Committee.”
House Ways and Means Committee chairman Richard Neal praised the decision.
“As I have maintained for years, the Committee’s case is very strong and the law is on our side. I am glad that the Department of Justice agrees and that we can move forward,” Mr Neal said in a statement to CNN.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also celebrated the ruling, which she called “a victory for the rule of law”.
She said that access to Mr Trump’s tax returns was an “issue of national security”.
“The American people deserve to know the facts of his troubling conflicts of interest and undermining of our security and democracy as president.”
It’s unclear if Mr Trump will continue to fight the release of his tax information in light of the ruling.
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