A federal judge has granted the House Oversight Committee access to Donald Trump’s tax records from 2017 and 2018 as well as to financial records about Trump’s Washington hotel.
August 12, 2021

In yesterday’s ruling, Judge Amit P. Mehta ruled Trump's accountants should give Congress his financial records from 2017 and 2018 and records related to the hotel, which is on property leased from the federal government. Previously, the Oversight Committee had asked for and been granted access to records back to 2011, but the U.S. Supreme Court returned the case to the lower court to reconsider whether the access should be narrowed.

Now, Judge Mehta has granted Congress access to financial records about Trump’s hotel in the Old Post Office building from both before and after he became president as well as access to his tax records while he was in office. The judge rejected the Oversight Committee’s request for access to tax records from before Trump took office.

The Oversight Committee wants to examine the records in order to write legislation preventing the kind of financial and ethical chicanery that Trump almost certainly engaged in. From The Washington Post:

Democrats had argued that they needed access to Trump’s financial records from 2011 to 2018 to write legislation fixing “glaring weaknesses in current ethics legislation” exposed by Trump’s presidency. The president’s former attorney, Michael Cohen, testified that Trump routinely changed the value of his holdings in disclosures and provided documents to bolster his account. Before testifying, Cohen had pleaded guilty in federal court to lying to Congress about Trump’s business interests, as well as violating campaign finance laws in paying off women who said they had had affairs with Trump.

But the House will only get records for 2017 and 2018 “to further its role overseeing the president’s foreign business interests,” The Post explained. “While in office, Trump donated to the U.S. Treasury several hundred thousand dollars in foreign payments to his hotels, Mehta said, ‘thereby validating the Committee’s belief that President Trump’s businesses received some foreign payments during his presidency.’”

What will really happen is an open question. Either side or both sides could appeal the decision, thus further dragging out a resolution. But, The New York Times points out, “in one respect, the stakes have been lowered” because the Manhattan district attorney’s office has already obtained records from Trump's accountants that are similar to those denied to Congress.

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