Former President Donald Trump suffered a legal setback in his bid to keep his tax records out of the hands of lawmakers. In a 3-0 ruling, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals said that the Internal Revenue Service can turn over Trump's tax returns to the House Ways and Means Committee.
"While it is possible that Congress may attempt to threaten the sitting President with an invasive request after leaving office, every President takes office knowing that he will be subject to the same laws as all other citizens upon leaving office. This is a feature of our democratic republic, not a bug," Circuit Judge David Sentelle wrote.
The House Ways and Means Committee first requested Trump's tax returns in 2019 under a federal law that requires the Treasury Department to turn over individual tax returns when it receives a written request from the committee chairman.
The Trump administration refused to hand over the documents, sparking a legal battle between Congress and the Executive Branch. When President Joe Biden took office, the Justice Department reversed course and ordered the IRS to hand over the documents.
Trump then filed a lawsuit to stop his tax returns from being turned over, claiming the law posed concerns about the separation of powers between the two branches.
The three-judge panel rejected those arguments.
"Further, the Request did not violate separation of powers principles under any of the potentially applicable tests primarily because the burden on the Executive Branch and the Trump Parties is relatively minor," Sentelle explained.
Trump has seven days to appeal the decision.