WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump was barred by a federal judge from suing New York officials in a Washington, D.C. court over access to his tax records.
U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols of the District of Columbia issued the decision Monday, adding that Trump could still “renew his claims against the New York defendants should future events trigger one or more provisions of the D.C. long-arm statute, and he may, of course, sue either New York defendant in another forum (presumably in New York).”
The lawsuit was brought by Trump to challenge New York’s TRUST Act, legislation sponsored by state Sen. Brad Hoylman, D-27, and signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in July. The law allows state officials to access tax returns of federal, state and local government officials, including the president, if requested by congressional tax committees for legislative purposes.
Trump filed the lawsuit against Attorney General Letitia James, Tax Commissioner Michael Schmidt and the House Ways and Means Committee earlier this year.
The president tried to challenge the law — amid the impeachment inquiry against him — in D.C. federal court based on the “long arm” statute, which allows for issues connected to “transacting any business in the District of Columbia” to be litigated in the court. Trump argued that his tax returns being sent to D.C. if Congress were to request them counted as a transaction of business.
Nichols, a Trump appointee, was not convinced that D.C. was the appropriate place for the lawsuit to take place, saying that Trump did not argue the New York tax commissioner or attorney general — two of the parties targeted in his lawsuit — had “transacted business” in D.C. in regard to the TRUST Act.
In a statement Monday, James said she never doubted the legality of the TRUST Act.
“We have said all along that this lawsuit should be dismissed and we are pleased with the court’s conclusion,” she said. “The TRUST Act is an important tool that will ensure accountability to millions of Americans who deserve to know the truth.”
James argued that the lawsuit should have taken place in New York because it is where Trump’s state taxes are held, and is targeting a New York law and state officials.
Hoylman said in a tweet Monday that he was glad to see the lawsuit tossed.
“No one is above the law,” he wrote. “It’s time for Congress to utilize our TRUST Act & request the President’s NY State tax returns. There’s no time to waste!”
Massarah Mikati covers the New York State Legislature and immigration for Johnson Newspaper Corp. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or find her on Twitter @massarahmikati.