Chairwoman Maloney’s Statement Following Court Decision Upholding Key Parts of the Committee’s Subpoena for Financial Information from President Trump and His Businesses
Washington, D.C. (August 11, 2021)— Today, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, the Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, issued the following statement after the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia upheld in part the Committee’s subpoena for eight years of financial information from President Trump and his businesses:
“Former President Trump’s opaque financial dealings led to an unprecedented federal ethics crisis. Today’s district court opinion recognized that the Oversight Committee is entitled to a broad set of President Trump’s financial records as part of our critical investigation aimed at preventing presidential conflicts of interest, self-dealing, and constitutional violations. I am pleased that the Court found that the Committee is entitled to eight years of financial information from Mazars related to President Trump, the Trump Organization, and the Trump Old Post Office Hotel, as well as a broader set of information from the first two years of Mr. Trump’s presidency. While it is disappointing that the Court, despite finding that the entire subpoena served valid legislative purposes, narrowed the subpoena in some respects, the Committee is actively considering next steps.”
At the beginning of the 116th Congress, the Oversight Committee launched several investigations of the President’s conflicts of interest, inadequate financial disclosures, and violations of the Emoluments Clauses in order to determine the adequacy of existing laws and perform related agency oversight.
On February 27, 2019, the President’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, testified before the Oversight Committee. He alleged that President Trump’s financial statements falsely represented the President’s assets and liabilities and that President Trump “inflated his total assets when it served his purposes” or, at other times, “deflated his assets to reduce his real estate taxes.”
As corroboration, Mr. Cohen produced portions of financial statements from 2011, 2012, and 2013—some of which were prepared by Mazars—which raised questions about President Trump’s representations on these forms and other financial disclosure documents, particularly relating to the President’s debts. Mr. Cohen also produced checks from President Trump and his business trust, some of which were signed after Trump became President, and Mr. Cohen testified that these payments were reimbursements of illegal hush-money payments made during the 2016 campaign.
On March 20, 2019, Chairman Elijah Cummings sent a letter to Mazars seeking key financial documents relating to these and other allegations, and on April 15, 2019, the Oversight Committee issued a subpoena to Mazars seeking four targeted categories of documents.
On May 20, 2019, after President Trump and his businesses filed a lawsuit seeking to prevent Mazars from complying with the Committee’s lawful subpoena, the D.C. District Court issued a ruling vindicating the authority of the Oversight Committee to investigate issues concerning the President and his companies. This ruling was upheld by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, and the full D.C. Circuit rejected Trump’s petition for en banc review.
On July 9, 2020, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Trump v. Mazars USA, LLP. The Supreme Court’s opinion reaffirmed the bedrock principle in our democracy that no one—not even the President—is above the law and announced a new standard for evaluating congressional subpoenas for the President’s personal information. The Supreme Court remanded the case to the lower courts to apply the new standard.
Today’s district court ruling confirmed that the Oversight Committee had “facially valid legislative purposes” in seeking these documents, including addressing “presidential ethics and conflicts of interest, presidential financial disclosures, and presidential adherence to Constitutional safeguards against foreign interference and undue influence.” The court ruled that the Committee was entitled to receive financial information covered by the subpoena related to former President Trump, the Trump Organization, and the Trump Old Post Office Hotel, as well as a broader set of financial information sought by the Committee for the years 2017 and 2018.