Note: The Supreme Court today ruled in favor of a New York prosecutor’s review of Trump’s personal financial records, but delayed a decision on congressional subpoenas for comprehensive personal and business records.
Statement of Lisa Rosenberg, executive director of Open The Government:
The Supreme Court’s decision sends an encouraging message that it does not support the Trump administration’s antagonistic viewpoint that the president is above the law. The ruling is an important check on President Trump’s decision to deride a basic transparency obligation to Americans that every president in modern history has upheld.
This ruling signals hope that the Supreme Court will not give Trump carte blanche to continue to flout public scrutiny. But, as co-equal branch of government, lawmakers should not have to be engaged in a long, convoluted legal battle for a president’s tax records that makes it all the way to the Supreme Court. To prevent this from happening again, Congress must pass legislation that requires all future presidential candidates disclose their tax records when they run for office. Before he entered office, Trump promised voters he would release his tax returns, but he ultimately showed his disregard for accountability to the public when he reneged on the promise, preventing Americans – who polls show are in support of the release of the records – from knowing about potential conflicts of interests stemming from his numerous business interests.
Today’s Supreme Court decision is an important victory for the rule of law. But the fight is not over. Congress must pass legislation that mandates disclosure of candidates’ tax returns. Never again should a candidate – or the president – have the opportunity to delay and deny voters the right to make a fully informed decision about who they send to the White House.