Appeals Court: IRS 'Misunderstands' FOIA Obligations in EPIC Case, but Trump's Tax Returns Still Withheld
The D.C. Circuit ruled today that the IRS "misunderstands its FOIA disclosure obligations" in EPIC v. IRS, EPIC's Freedom of Information Act case to obtain public release of President Trump's tax returns. EPIC argued that the IRS has the authority, under a legal provision known as "(k)(3)," to disclose the President's returns to correct numerous misstatements of fact concerning his financial ties to Russia. For example, President Trump falsely tweeted that "Russia has never tried to use leverage over me. I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA - NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING." Although the D.C. Circuit ruled that EPIC could not compel the IRS to use "(k)(3)," the Court rebuked the IRS for "disregard[ing] the plain statutory text" of FOIA and held that EPIC's request was wrongly "met with a closed door." The Court also emphasized that the law at issue in EPIC v. IRS II—EPIC's separate FOIA suit for President Trump's business tax records—"does allow the public to inspect certain return information." EPIC will continue to pursue the release of the President's tax records, which will reveal whether and how the President's private financial interests conflict with the national interests of the United States.