Donald Trump lawsuit against NY over tax returns is dismissed

Cheryl Sanders
November 12, 2019

A federal judge on Monday tossed President Trump's attempt to keep House Democrats from getting to his state tax returns.

The New York law allows House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal to see Trump's state returns upon request.

Earlier this year, NY passed a law that would allow the House Ways and Means Committee to access Trump's tax returns.

"The case against the Ways and Means Committee proceeds in federal court", Sekulow said, referring to a separate suit in which the House Ways and Means Committee is seeking six years of Trump's federal tax returns.

Trump sued New York's attorney general, tax commissioner and the House and Ways Means Committee in July.

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The New York case had lagged far behind the others, though it had more potential to make Trump's tax information publicly available than another case, involving a Manhattan grand jury, now headed for the Supreme Court.

"Mr. Trump bears the burden of establishing personal jurisdiction, but his allegations do not establish that the District of Columbia's long-arm statute is satisfied here with either defendant", the judge wrote.

Judge Carl Nichols of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia - a Trump appointee - ruled that his court was not the proper jurisdiction to sue the NY officials named in the lawsuit, leaving the door open for Trump to file a new suit in NY.

House General Counsel Douglas N. Letter had urged Nichols to deny Trump's requests, saying the committee's decision whether to use the new state law is "absolutely immune" from court review under the Constitution's grant of legislative powers to Congress.

Such a decision now could rest with a judge in NY, if Trump's lawyers refile their claim in federal court there.

The New York law 'was enacted to retalitate against the president because of his policy positions, his political beliefs, and his protected speech, including the positions he took during the 2016 campaign, ' Trump's lawyers argued in the court filing.

The lawsuit is just one of several court fights over access to Trump's tax returns.

Judge Carl Nichols handed down a 19-page ruling, finding the US District Court in Washington, DC, does not have jurisdiction to hear the case.

He also argued that Congress has no legislative interest in the president's tax returns.

Trump has called the pursuit of his private financial information an attempt at political gain, and accused NY lawmakers of violating his First Amendment rights by trying to discriminate and retaliate against him "for his speech and politics".

NY lawmakers presented the new law as a means of empowering congressional oversight by unearthing details of the president's past business dealings, his income and other personal financial information that he has refused to release via his federal tax returns.

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