Judge rejects Democrats' bid to speed lawsuit for Trump's tax returns
A federal judge on Thursday rejected House Democrats’ bid for quick consideration of their lawsuit seeking President Donald Trump’s tax returns.
D.C. District Court Judge Trevor McFadden denied their request to both expedite consideration of the case and to decide on its merits without holding a trial.
“This is no ordinary case, but the weighty constitutional issues and political ramifications it presents militate in favor of caution and deliberation, not haste,” McFadden said. “This case presents novel and complex questions about the privileges and authority of all three branches of the federal government.”
House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) is suing for Trump’s federal returns under a 1924 law allowing the heads of Congress’ tax committees to examine anyone’s personal tax records. The Democrats are seeking six years of Trump’s personal returns and some of his business filings.
Trump has steadfastly refused to release the information, defying a decades-old tradition of presidents voluntarily disclosing their returns.
In seeking speedy consideration of the case, Democrats noted that the current session of Congress will end in 16 months. They had proposed a court briefing schedule that would end by Oct. 25 with oral arguments to follow. Trump lawyer William Consovoy opposed that proposal.
In the order released this evening, McFadden, who was appointed to the district court by Trump, suggested Democrats were slow to ask for expedited consideration, saying the request came seven weeks after they first filed suit.
"The Court does not fault the committee for its time and efforts negotiating with the administration before suing, but it is not clear why only now the committee asked for expedited consideration,” he wrote.
McFadden also noted that there are other suits in which Democrats are demanding information about Trump’s finances, including ones involving Deutsche Bank, which has lent the president hundreds of millions of dollars over his career, and the accounting firm Mazars.
“That related issues are percolating in other courts, particularly before the D.C. Circuit, suggests that a rush to judgment here would be unwise,” he said.
“It may be appropriate to expedite this matter at some point, but not now.”
The case is separate from another suit in which Trump is suing to prevent Neal from tapping a recently passed New York law that would give him access to the president’s state tax returns.