Announced today, former President Donald Trump and his former accounting firm, Mazars, have officially given up a three-year court battle and the House Committee on Oversight and Reform will finally get to see the financial records they’ve been trying to get since 2019. Mazars will hand over certain financial records and communications from former President Trump and his business entities while Trump has agreed not to further appeal the D.C. Circuit’s ruling that these records be handed over to the committee.
Said House Oversight and Reform Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney in a statement:
“After numerous court victories, I am pleased that my Committee has now reached an agreement to obtain key financial documents that former President Trump fought for years to hide from Congress. In April 2019, the Oversight Committee issued a lawful subpoena for financial records as part of our investigation into President Trump’s unprecedented conflicts of interest, self-dealing, and foreign financial ties. After facing years of delay tactics, the Committee has now reached an agreement with the former President and his accounting firm, Mazars USA, to obtain critical documents. These documents will inform the Committee’s efforts to get to the bottom of former President Trump’s egregious conduct and ensure that future presidents do not abuse their position of power for personal gain.”
The statement includes a detailed recap on the topic conveniently organized by date:
At the beginning of the 116th Congress, the Oversight Committee launched several investigations of former President Trump’s conflicts of interest, inadequate financial disclosures, and violations of the Emoluments Clauses to determine the adequacy of existing laws and perform related agency oversight.
On February 27, 2019, President Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, testified before the Oversight Committee. He alleged that President Trump’s financial statements falsely represented the President’s assets and liabilities and that President Trump “inflated his total assets when it served his purposes” or, at other times, “deflated his assets to reduce his real estate taxes.”
As corroboration, Mr. Cohen produced portions of financial statements from 2011, 2012, and 2013—some of which were prepared by Mazars—which raised questions about President Trump’s representations on these forms and other financial disclosure documents, particularly relating to the President’s debts. Mr. Cohen also produced checks from President Trump and his business trust, some of which were signed after Mr. Trump became President, and Mr. Cohen testified that these payments were reimbursements of illegal hush-money payments made during the 2016 campaign.
On March 20, 2019, Chairman Elijah E. Cummings sent a letter to Mazars seeking key financial documents relating to these and other allegations, and on April 15, 2019, the Oversight Committee issued a subpoena to Mazars seeking four targeted categories of documents.
On May 20, 2019, after President Trump filed a lawsuit to prevent Mazars from complying with the Committee’s lawful subpoena, the D.C. District Court issued a ruling vindicating the authority of the Oversight Committee to investigate issues concerning the President and his companies. This ruling was upheld by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, and the full D.C. Circuit rejected Trump’s petition for en banc review.
On July 9, 2020, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Trump v. Mazars USA, LLP. The Court’s opinion reaffirmed the bedrock principle in our democracy that no one—not even the President—is above the law and announced a new standard for evaluating congressional subpoenas for the President’s personal information. The Supreme Court remanded the case to the lower courts to apply the new standard.
On August 11, 2021, a district court ruling confirmed that the Oversight Committee had “facially valid legislative purposes” in seeking documents in this investigation and upheld in part the Committee’s subpoena for financial information from President Trump and his businesses.
On July 8, 2022, the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled that the Committee is authorized to obtain certain financial records and communications from former President Trump and his business entities covered by the Committee’s subpoena. The Court held that former “President Trump’s financial information would advance the Committee’s consideration of ethics reform legislation across all three of its investigative tracks,” including presidential ethics and conflicts of interest, presidential financial disclosures, and presidential adherence to Constitutional safeguards against foreign interference and undue influence.
Under the agreement reached by the Committee, former President Trump has agreed not to further appeal the D.C. Circuit’s ruling, and Mazars USA has agreed to comply with the court’s order and produce responsive documents to the Committee as expeditiously as possible.
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