President Donald Trump’s attorneys have asked a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit brought by House Democrats seeking to obtain the President’s tax returns.
In a Friday filing, the lawyers claimed that the court doesn’t have jurisdiction over the matter, arguing that Congress and the White House should resolve the dispute.
“The court should refrain from adjudicating this dispute so the parties can undertake this process of negotiation and mutual accommodation through which the elected branches for more than 200 years have resolved their recurrent disputes over access to information,” they said. “The exertion of federal judicial power to declare victors in interbranch disputes of this nature would be inconsistent with the limits of [the Constitution’s] Article III and the separation-of-powers principles that inform them.”
The move comes only days after House Democrats’ effort to fast track their suit was rejected last week by Trevor McFadden, the judge hearing the case. House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal issued a subpoena seeking six years’ worth of the President’s federal tax returns under a 1924 law allowing the heads of Congress’ tax committees to examine anyone’s tax information.
Trump, who has broken with tradition by refusing to release his tax returns, is facing a number of subpoenas by Democrats hoping to get their hands on the information. One of the lawsuits he is battling requires him to provide his tax returns in order to appear on the state’s primary ballot.
In Friday’s filing, the President’s lawyers detailed other reasons as well why Neal’s request for Trump’s returns ought to be rejected, including that the 1924 statute does not include an enforcement mechanism explaining what happens if someone ignores the law.
The lawyers further argue that the chairman’s lawsuit was not properly authorized by the House as the entire chamber did not vote to allow it to go forward.
“There is no constitutional or statutory basis for a Committee of the House of Representatives to take on the role of enforcing its subpoenas in the Federal courts where the Executive Branch has decided not to do so,” the filing also says.