Former President Donald Trump spent years trying to keep details of his wealth secret, and on Wednesday took his fight to a federal court in an effort to block Congress from obtaining his tax returns.
In a D.C. court filing, Trump’s lawyers argued that the House Ways and Means Committee had no legitimate basis for seeking his federal tax records.
The legal move comes after the U.S. Department of Justice last week ordered the Internal Revenue Service to hand the records over to Congressional investigators.
The DOJ order reverses course from the stance it took when Trump was in office. At the time, critics accused Trump of using the Justice Department to advance his personal and political interests during his four years in office.
The department has since moved to reassert its independence. Trump was the first president in 40 years to not release his tax returns, despite a campaign promise to do so.
The Democratic-led House committee has said it wants the tax data to determine whether the IRS is properly auditing presidential tax returns in general and to assess whether new legislation is needed.
Trump's lawyers called that a "pretextual" rationalization.
One tax law professor interviewed by Reuters said Trump’s arguments would likely be rejected by the judge.