Tax and Financial Records Case

New York Law on State Tax Returns Case

Major Issue:  Whether the President may prevent Congress from requesting and New York State from providing copies of the President’s New York state tax returns.

Case Status:  Awaiting appellate court opinion.

Case Description:  In July 2019, New York State enacted a law, the TRUST Act, allowing the state to provide copies of state tax returns filed by the President (or by the Vice President, a New York Member of Congress, or the New York governor) to certain Congressional committees upon request.  On July 23, 2019, President Trump filed suit in the DC federal district court to block Congress from requesting and New York State from providing copies of his New York state tax returns.  The suit named officials from the House Ways & Means Committee and from New York State.  In Nov. 2019, the district court dismissed the New York State officials from the lawsuit for lack of personal jurisdiction and imposed a notice requirement on Congress should it request the President’s New York state tax returns.   

Procedural Posture:  D.C. District Judge Carl Nichols was assigned to Case No. 19-cv-2173.  On Nov. 11, 2019, the district court dismissed the New York State officials for lack of personal jurisdiction.  Trump v. Comm. on Ways & Means, 2019 WL 5866752 (D.D.C. Nov. 11, 2019).  On Nov. 18, 2019, the district court ordered Congress to provide contemporaneous notice to President Trump and the court of any request for his New York state tax returns, and barred Congressional receipt of those returns for 14 days after the request in order to give President Trump an opportunity to file suit.  Trump v. Comm. on Ways & Means, 2019 WL 6138993 (D.D.C. Nov. 18, 2019).  On Dec. 23, 2019, the D.C. Circuit Court accepted an interlocutory appeal filed by the House Ways & Means Committee of the district court’s November 18 opinion.  To date, neither the House nor Senate has requested a copy of the President’s New York state tax returns. 

On July 23, 2019, President Trump filed suit in DC federal district court seeking a preliminary injunction to block Congress from requesting or New York State from providing copies of his New York state tax returns under the recently enacted New York statute, the TRUST Act.  On July 24, 2019, President Trump also filed an Emergency Application for Relief Under the All Writs Act, seeking to prevent Congress from requesting or receiving his returns until the issues were litigated.  On July 25, 2019, the district court ruled that the case was not related to an earlier one and ordered its random reassignment to a new judge, which resulted in the case being assigned to Judge Nichols.  Trump v. Comm. on Ways and Means, 391 F.Supp.3d 93 (2019).  On Aug. 19, 2019, the President filed an amended complaint which, among other provisions, requested relief under the All Writs Act to require Congress to provide advance notice of a request for his New York state tax returns.  

On Nov. 11, 2019, the district court dismissed the New York State officials from the lawsuit for lack of personal jurisdiction.  Trump v. Comm. on Ways & Means, 2019 WL 5866752 (D.D.C. Nov. 11, 2019).  On Nov. 18, 2019, using its authority under the All Writs Act, the district court ordered Congress to provide contemporaneous notice to the President and the court of a request for his New York state tax returns, and barred Congress from receipt of those returns for 14 days in order to give President Trump an opportunity to litigate the issues.  Trump v. Comm. on Ways & Means, 2019 WL 6138993 (D.D.C. Nov. 18, 2019).

The House Ways & Means Committee filed an interlocutory appeal of the district court’s November 18 order.

On Dec. 23, 2019, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals accepted the interlocutory appeal filed by the House Committee on Ways & Means of the district court’s November 18 opinion imposing a notification requirement on Congress.  The appeal was assigned Case No. 19-5360.  Due to the pandemic, the court granted an extension of time to file the parties’ briefs, which are currently due in May and June 2020.

No proceedings to date.

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