House tax panel can access Trump's tax records after legal battle

House tax panel can access Trump's tax records after legal battle

A federal appeals court unanimously ruled Tuesday that a House committee can access former President Donald Trump's tax records after a long legal battle.

A three-judge panel of the D.C. The Circuit Court of Appeals agreed that the House Ways and Means CommitteeHouse Ways and Means Committee has the authority to obtain Trump's tax records from the Treasury Department, upholding a district court ruling from late last year.

Trump's lawyers are all but certain to appeal the ruling.

NBC News reached out to a Trump spokesman and a member of his legal team for comment.

The court ruling adds to Trump's legal woes after he was found by the FBI at his Mar-a-Lago home on Monday. A source familiar with the matter told NBC News that the search was tied to classified information Trump took with him from the White House to his Palm Beach resort in January 2021.

Tuesday's appeals court ruling was the latest twist in a multi-year legal fight over his tax records. In December a federal judge tossed out Trump's lawsuit aimed at blocking the House panel from obtaining his tax returns, rejecting the former president's claim that Congress had no legitimate need to look at returns and that Congress was simply snooping around in an effort to embarrass him.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass. On Tuesday, the appeals court said it had a long-anticipated opinion. Neal requested copies of Trump's federal tax returns in April 2019, a request that the Treasury Department initially refused.

We followed the judicial process with great patience, and again our position has been affirmed by the Courts, Neal said in a statement. We will start our oversight of the IRS's mandatory presidential audit program when we receive the returns. Neal cited a federal law that requires the Treasury Department and the IRS to turn over individual tax returns when requested by any of the three congressional tax committees.

The appeals court ruling states that the Chairman has identified a legitimate legislative purpose that it needs information to accomplish. It is not our place to delve deeper into this at this stage. The mere fact that individual members of Congress may have political motivations as well as legislative ones is of no moment. It is likely that an individual member of Congress would not consider the political implications, as it is likely that it would be rare for a member of Congress to work for a legislative purpose. If he appeals, Trump would have to ask the full circuit court to rehear the case or appeal directly to the Supreme Court.

The House committee's top Republicans, Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas, urged Trump to appeal the decision.

Brady said in a statement that the ruling will give Congress the ability to target and make public the tax returns of political enemies, as well as give them the ability to make public the tax returns of political enemies. In a statement on Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, called the decision a victory for the rule of law.

Pelosi believes that access to the former president's tax returns is important to upholding the public interest, our national security and our democracy.