Lawyers for former President Donald Trump asked a federal judge on Wednesday to block the release of his tax returns to Congress.
The attorneys in a court filing argued that House Democrats, who have long sought Trump’s tax information, want to expose his returns for “political gain” rather than for study them for legislative purposes.
The “requests have always been a transparent effort by one political party to harass an official from the other party because they dislike his politics and speech,” Trump’s representatives wrote.
The move comes less than week after the Department of Justice determined that the Treasury Department must turn over the former president’s tax returns to the House Ways and Means Committee.
The DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel said “there is ample basis to conclude” that turning Trump’s taxes over to the committee would “further the Committee’s principal stated objective of assessing the IRS’s presidential audit program-a plainly legitimate area for congressional inquiry and possible legislation.”
House Democrats celebrated the decision after a years-long effort to access Trump’s tax returns. Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement that “the Biden Administration has delivered a victory for the rule of law, as it respects the public interest.”
“Access to former President Trump’s tax returns is a matter of national security,” she added. “The American people deserve to know the facts of his troubling conflicts of interest and undermining of our security and democracy as president.”
Trump’s lawyers on Wednesday rejected the DOJ’s opinion, telling the court that it “gives wobbly justifications and shallow reasoning.”
House Democrats initially requested six years of Trump’s tax information from the Internal Revenue Service in 2019, after the then-president had refused to publicly disclose his returns. At the time, the DOJ, under the Trump administration, refused to support the request.
“The requests single out President Trump because he is a Republican and a political opponent,” Trump’s lawyers wrote on Wednesday. “They were made to retaliate against President Trump because of his policy positions, his political beliefs, and his protected speech, including the positions he took during the 2016 and 2020 campaigns.”
The lawyers also asked the judge to order House Democrats “to end all ongoing examinations” into Trump and his companies.