By Jennifer Ugwueke
A federal judge has ruled that former US President Donald Trump’s accountants must turn over two years’ worth of his tax and financial records to a House committee investigating whether Trump and his businesses profited from his service in the White House.
The Democratic lawmakers investigating Trump will be able to see his personal financial records from 2017 and 2018, US District Court Judge Amit Mehta of Washington ruled on Wednesday, August 11.
House Democrats will also have access to documents relating to Trump’s lease of a building near the White House, according to the Washington Post.
Democrats had claimed they needed Trump’s financial records from 2011 to 2018 in order to pen legislation fixing “glaring weaknesses in current ethics legislation” that came out during the 45th president’s tenure.
Judge Mehta approved a House Oversight and Reform Committee subpoena for Trump’s records covering 2017 and 2018, but turned down most of the panel’s request for similar information dating back to 2011.
Mehta, an appointee of Barack Obama, ruled that the congressional inquiry was too intrusive but could proceed in a more limited fashion, so he narrowed the House subpoena for Trump’s financial records to only 2017 and 2018.
Mehta wrote: “Such limited legislative need cannot justify the degree to which the Maloney Subpoena imposes on the separation of powers, even in the case of a former President.
“The more Congress can invade the personal sphere of a former President, the greater the leverage Congress would have on a sitting President.”
A Trump aide told Politico that the ex-president will fight to keep his tax records under wraps by appealing Mehta’s decision.
Democratic Rep Carolyn Maloney, who chairs the House Oversight Committee, said on Wednesday, August 11, that obtaining Trump’s financial documents will help lawmakers with oversight of the executive branch.
“While it is disappointing that the Court, despite finding that the entire subpoena served valid legislative purposes, narrowed the subpoena in some respects, the Committee is actively considering next steps,” Maloney added, according to The Hill.