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Politics House Democrats ask judge to dismiss Trump lawsuit over NY tax return law

03:45  22 october  2019
03:45  22 october  2019 Source:   thehill.com

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House Democrats on Monday urged a federal judge to dismiss them from President Trump ’s lawsuit challenging a New York law that allows congressional committees to request his state tax returns .

The Trump administration, along with the president and several of his business entities, on Friday filed a motion to dismiss House Democrats ’ lawsuit on President Trump ’s federal tax returns .

House Democrats on Monday urged a federal judge to dismiss them from President Trump's lawsuit challenging a New York law that allows congressional committees to request his state tax returns.

Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: House Democrats ask judge to dismiss Trump lawsuit over NY tax return law© The Hill House Democrats ask judge to dismiss Trump lawsuit over NY tax return law

The Democrat-led Ways and Means Committee, Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) and committee aide Andrew Grossman - who are all named as defendants in the lawsuit - argued that Trump hasn't been harmed by them and that they are immune from the lawsuit under the Constitution's speech or debate clause.

The House's lawyers noted that the Ways and Means Committee is participating in the House's impeachment inquiry of Trump, and that the committee's deliberations related to any actions it could take as part of that inquiry are protected from a legal challenge.

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Mr. Trump ’s tax returns , however, remain protected for now. His lawyers quickly appealed to the The decision was a victory for Mr. Vance, whose office had asked Judge Marrero to dismiss Mr Mr. Trump ’s lawyers have sued to stop attempts by congressional Democrats to gain access to his tax

Trump 's lawyers are battling Congress and a New York prosecutor to keep the president's tax returns secret, even as he faces an impeachment probe. President Trump 's attorneys asked the Supreme Court to block a subpoena for his tax returns issued by a Democrat -led House committee.

"As relevant here, the Committee could at some point decide to seek information under the [New York law] in connection with this impeachment inquiry," the House's lawyers wrote. "This inquiry, and any deliberation concerning any actions the Committee could potentially take in aid of it, underscores the reasons that the Clause provides absolute immunity for the Committee Defendants' decision-making and related acts here."

New York enacted a law in July, known as the TRUST Act, that allows the leaders of Congress's tax committees to request public officials' state tax returns from the commissioner of the state's Department of Taxation and Finance.

Shortly after the bill's enactment, Trump filed a lawsuit in an effort to block the committee from obtaining his New York tax returns. Trump alleges that the committee has no legitimate legislative purpose to request his state tax returns, and that the New York law violates the First Amendment.

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Trump sued New York ’s attorney general, tax commissioner and the House and Ways Means Committee in July. New York officials had agreed to delay acting on a congressional request for Trump ’s tax returns until there was a ruling on jurisdiction.

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Neal has not yet requested Trump's state tax returns, and has been more focused on trying to obtain the president's federal tax returns. The Democrats' filing states that the Ways and Means Committee hasn't yet decided whether or not it will request Trump's state tax returns.

In their filing, the committee defendants argued that Trump doesn't have standing to sue because he hasn't provided an injury that pertains to them, and that Trump's case is not yet ripe.

"Mr. Trump's claim is far too abstract and speculative to warrant judicial intervention at this juncture," the House's lawyers wrote.

Additionally, the committee defendants argued that the deliberations about whether to request Trump's state tax returns are protected from a legal challenge under the Constitution's speech or debate clause. The House's lawyers argue that the deliberations are a legislative act protected by the clause, and that the clause also protects Congress's deliberative processes with respect to impeachment.

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A federal judge on Monday dismissed President Donald Trump 's lawsuit to prevent the House Ways and Means Committee from utilizing a recently 11, 2019, in New York . In his lawsuit , Trump 's attorneys argued that the state law was simply an effort to get information about his personal finances

Trump sued New York 's attorney general, tax commissioner and the House and Ways Means Committee in July. New York officials had agreed to delay acting on a congressional request for Trump 's tax returns until there was a ruling on jurisdiction.

The committee defendants also argue that Trump has failed to state a claim against them.

"At bottom, the relief Mr. Trump seeks in this case is as brazen as it is extreme," they said. "In the absence of any injury to him now, and admitting that a request by the Committee Defendants by itself will never harm him, Mr. Trump nonetheless asks this Court to invade the Committee's ongoing deliberations concerning whether and how to gather information for its work."

At a court hearing in September, House General Counsel Douglas Letter said that if the committee defendants lose their motion to dismiss on speech or debate clause grounds, they can immediately appeal the decision.

New York officials who are defendants in the lawsuit, Attorney General Letitia James (D) and state tax official Michael Schmidt, filed their own motion to dismiss the lawsuit in August, arguing that the lawsuit doesn't belong in federal court in Washington, D.C. Trump disagrees and argues that the federal court in D.C. does have jurisdiction over the New York officials.

Judge Carl Nichols, a Trump appointee, heard oral arguments on the New York officials' motion in September, but has yet to issue a ruling. Under an order Nichols issued in August, the New York officials can't provide any requested Trump tax returns to the Ways and Means Committee until one week after Nichols rules on the New York officials' motion.

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