Democrats have made it clear that they won’t stop until they see President Donald Trump’s tax returns, but the president isn’t budging. And now, the White House just scored another — albeit temporary — victory.
A federal judge in Washington has put a stop to recent Democrat efforts to obtain Trump’s tax records from the state of New York — at least until all sides involved have a chance to make an argument in the case.
Judge thwarts Dems’ latest plans
The Hill reported that New York recently passed a new law that allows the state’s Department of Taxation and Revenue to turn over public officials’ state tax returns to congressional committees that deal with taxes, such as the Democrat-dominated House Ways and Means Committee, if requested.
Massachusetts Rep. Richard Neal (D), who chairs the aforementioned committee, has yet to officially request Trump’s tax returns from the state, but he hinted as much, prompting Trump to file a lawsuit to block the potential transfer.
The judge in that case, Trump-appointed federal district Judge Carl Nichols, has not yet ruled on the merits of the dispute, but on Thursday, he issued a temporary block on the transfer of the records until no sooner than one week after he renders his final ruling.
Judge Nichols further ordered New York officials to notify both the court and the president if Chairman Neal officially makes his request for the returns prior to his issuance of a final ruling.
Coming to an agreement
The judge’s order appears to be in line with a proposal that was put forward by New York officials and agreed to by Trump’s attorneys to wait for the court to pass final judgment — though it is worth noting that the House committee was not a part of that deal.
Judge Nichols had specifically requested that both sides in the matter attempt to reach such an agreement to ensure the case didn’t become moot before it could be argued — which is exactly what would happen if the state handed over the documents before receiving the go-ahead from the court.
The cooperation from New York officials comes as somewhat of a surprise in light of the state’s argument, which maintains that the district judge in Washington has no jurisdiction over the state’s affairs.
Moreover, given that Congress is currently on a month-long recess, it was already highly unlikely that Chairman Neal would officially request the state tax returns any time soon. Still, the court-ordered hold was issued as a precaution.
The ruling awaits
It will be interesting to see how the court eventually rules on this case about a state releasing the private tax returns of a public official without their authorization.
One thing that is more than clear, however, is that Democrats won’t rest until they’ve gotten their hands on President Trump’s tax returns — and they will use every tool available to do so, legal and ethical questions to the contrary be damned.