July 31, 2019 / 8:50 AM / 25 days ago

Trump says U.S. Congress should give 'notice' before requesting state tax return

(Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump’s personal lawyers on Tuesday urged a judge to require a House of Representative panel to notify them “at least 14 days before” it makes a request for his New York state tax returns.

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to the news media after returning from a quick trip to Williamsburg, Virginia, in Washington, U.S., July 30, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis

The request came in a lawsuit Trump filed on July 23 arguing that a law enacted in New York state last month that would give the House Ways and Means Committee access to the president’s state tax returns violates his constitutional rights.

Trump’s lawyers said that, in the alternative, New York officials should be required to provide notice upon receiving a request from the congressional committee for the tax return and to wait at least 14 days before complying.

U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols in Washington on Monday asked lawyers representing Trump, the committee, and New York’s attorney general to lay out proposals for how to handle the case in its preliminary stages.

Noting that New York could nearly instantaneously fulfill a request by the committee for the tax documents, the judge said he would consider proposals for providing Trump with fair notice so he could have his day in court.

Nichols did not indicate how he would rule on the merits of Trump’s constitutional argument.

Traditionally, U.S. presidential candidates have released their federal tax returns on the campaign trail. But Trump has repeatedly refused to do so.

The House committee has sought Trump’s federal returns to shed light on his business dealings.

The Treasury Department has denied the committee’s request despite a federal law saying the department “shall furnish” such records to the panel if requested. The Treasury Department said the committee had no legitimate purpose for reviewing Trump’s returns.

The committee filed a lawsuit earlier this month seeking to compel the department to hand over six years of Trump’s individual and business federal tax returns.

The committee said in a Tuesday court filing that it did not support Trump’s request for a notice period.

Such an order would raise “glaring separation of powers concerns,” lawyers for the committee said.

A lawyer for New York Attorney General Letitia James and New York Tax Commissioner Michael Schmidt also disagreed with Trump’s request, adding that Nichols lacked jurisdiction over them.

The lawyer representing New York state urged Nichols to rule on the jurisdictional arguments on an expedited schedule.

Reporting by Jan Wolfe and David Morgan; editing by Jonathan Oatis

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