WASHINGTON – House Democrats are filing a lawsuit on Tuesday against the Trump administration seeking access to President Donald Trump’s tax returns, according to a source familiar with the lawsuit.

A public court filing showed that the House Ways and Means Committee had filed a lawsuit Tuesday morning against the Internal Revenue Service.

Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, filed the lawsuit against the Internal Revenue Service and the Treasury Department after months of feuding with the Trump administration over the returns.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has denied multiple requests from House Democrats to turn over Trump’s financial records, in May rejecting a subpoena issued by Democrats on the Ways and Means Committee. That rejection pushed Neal to seek a court battle that legal experts say might go all the way to the Supreme Court, given the central questions it poses about the scope of Congress’ ability to oversee the White House.

The move also intensifies the conflict over a range oversight questions between Congress and the Trump administration, which has invoked privilege and through other measures sought to stonewall Democratic lawmakers’ investigations.

“This is a big deal that goes to the core of our government’s checks and balances, and could for many years shape the relationship between the executive and legislative branches,” said Steven Rosenthal, a legal expert at the Tax Policy Center, a nonpartisan think tank.

House Democrats and legal experts have pointed to a 1924 law that explicitly gives lawmakers the authority to seek the records, but the Trump administration has characterized Neal’s request as a partisan maneuver to embarrass his political opponents. Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s acting chief of staff, has said Democrats will “never” see Trump’s returns.

Trump refused to release his tax returns during the 2016 presidential campaign in a break with decades of precedent from previous presidents. He has told advisers he is willing to take the fight over his returns to the Supreme Court, and has publicly argued that the tax returns were an issue in the 2016 election but that because he won they should no longer be of concern.

Neal first demanded six years of Trump’s personal and business returns, from 2013 to 2018, in letters to the administration in April.

Neal’s subpoenas to Mnuchin and IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig requested the IRS turn over Trump’s individual income tax returns, all “administrative files” such as affidavits for those income tax returns, and income tax returns for a number of Trump’s business holdings such as the Donald Trump Revocable Trust, an umbrella entity that controls dozens of other businesses including the Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida.


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