Lawyers for former President Donald Trump announced they reached a settlement with the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday regarding his financial records.
The former president agreed not to further appeal the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling authorizing the committee to receive some of his financial records and tax returns. Under the agreement, Trump’s accounting firm, Mazars USA, will also turn over a handful of records.
House Democrats subpoenaed Mazars USA in 2019 for Trump’s financial records to use as evidence in an investigation surrounding his business dealings overseas. The investigation is intended to assess whether he violated the Constitution’s emoluments clauses by accepting payments from foreign governments and audit a lease granted to a Trump-owned business in 2013 for the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.
Democratic New York Rep. Carolyn Maloney, who serves as chairwoman of the Oversight Committee, celebrated the agreement in a Thursday 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,” Maloney said. “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.” (RELATED: Supreme Court Rejects House Democrats’ Request To Expedite Trump’s Financial Docs)
“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,” she continued. “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.”
“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.
— Oversight Committee (@OversightDems) September 1, 2022
Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, testified before Congress in Feb. 2019 alleging that he “inflated his total assets when it served his purposes” and attempted to lower his real estate taxes, according to a House Oversight Committee statement. Cohen disclosed a number of checks allegedly signed by Trump, which the lawyer claimed were “reimbursements of illegal hush-money payments” made during the 2016 campaign.
The Committee then subpoenaed Mazars, requesting four categories of documents, the committee said. Trump then filed a lawsuit to prevent Mazars from releasing the financial information in May 2019. The D.C. Circuit Court ruled that the Oversight Committee has a right to investigate these dealings.
U.S. District Court Judge Amit Mehta ruled in Aug. 2021 that the committee is permitted to obtain some of the financial records from after Trump became president, but added that the committee overstepped its authority by seeking records dating back to 2011.
In July 2022, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the committee is authorized to retrieve some of the financial records, but the case has to be “narrowed in a number of respects.” Their ruling aligned with the Supreme Court’s earlier opinion that the appellate court must conduct a “careful analysis” of the separation of powers.
“We conclude that each party is half right,” the court ruled. “We agree with President Trump that the heightened separation-of-powers scrutiny prescribed by the Supreme Court continues to govern in the unique circumstances of this case even though he is no longer the sitting President. But we agree with the Committee that we can consider its detailed accounting of the legislative purposes its subpoena serves even though that explanation came after the subpoena’s original issuance.”
The former president requested a rehearing by the full roster of the court, leading all parties to eventually reach a deal.