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Federal appeals court denies Trump effort to keep tax records from House committee

The former president can still appeal his case to the Supreme Court.
Former President Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at the Hilton Anatole on Aug. 6, 2022 in Dallas.
Former President Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas on Aug. 6.Brandon Bell / Getty Images file

A federal appeals court on Thursday denied former President Donald Trump's latest attempt to prevent a congressional committee from accessing his tax records.

The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for Washington, D.C., denied the effort after a three-judge panel of the court unanimously ruled in August that the House Ways and Means Committee is allowed to obtain Trump’s tax records after years of effort to secure them.

Trump can appeal Thursday's ruling to the Supreme Court. His lawyers have indicated in previous filings that they would appeal to the high court if the appeals court denied his request for a hearing.

NBC News has asked a Trump attorney for comment.

Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., the Ways and Means chairman, said in a statement Thursday that the committee had waited “long enough” for the documents. Neal first filed a formal request with the Treasury Department for the tax records in April 2019.

“The law has always been on our side. Former President Trump has tried to delay the inevitable, but once again, the Court has affirmed the strength of our position,” Neal said. “We’ve waited long enough — we must begin our oversight of the IRS’s mandatory presidential audit program as soon as possible.”

The three-judge panel said in August that the House committee had the authority to obtain Trump's tax records from the Treasury Department, upholding a district court ruling from late last year.

Democrats have been calling for Trump to release his tax returns ever since the 2016 presidential campaign. While no law requires presidential candidates to release their tax returns, almost every Republican and Democratic nominee in the modern era has disclosed their filings. Trump, however, has refused.

Thursday's court ruling adds to Trump's legal woes. Wednesday, his lawyers accepted service of the subpoena issued by the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot.

Separately, the Trump Organization's criminal tax fraud trial began this week. Prosecutors allege the company was involved in a 15-year scheme to compensate top executives “off the books” to help them evade taxes.