WASHINGTON, July 9 – A U.S. appeals court on Friday largely upheld a congressional subpoena seeking financial records from former President Donald Trump’s accounting firm Mazars, but said some of the lawmakers’ demands went too far.
US Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled unanimously that the Democratic-controlled House Oversight Committee can obtain records from around Trump’s 2016 campaign and his time in office.
The court said the scope of the subpoena was “extensive” for many records, including some related to the federal lease of Trump’s former hotel in Washington, D.C. She said lawmakers can only subpoena documents closely related to legislation they are considering.
A lawyer for Trump and a spokeswoman for Mazars did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Trump called the investigation politically motivated. Friday’s opinion rejected or declined to take up several of Trump’s legal arguments, including that the subpoenaed information cannot be used for legislation.
The ruling allows the House committee to obtain some records related to Trump’s hotel rental, as well as records related to allegations that Trump violated financial disclosure laws and may have violated the Constitution’s “emoluments” clause, which prevents federal office holders from accepting payments from foreign governments without congressional approval.
The appeals court also found that a test created by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2020 regarding Congress requesting papers from sitting presidents, even though Trump is no longer in office, applies in this case.
The House Oversight Committee first issued a subpoena for Trump’s financial records in 2019, prompting a legal challenge from the then-president.
The US Supreme Court said in July 2020 that House Democrats must further explain that they need the records and that the court should balance that with the burden placed on Trump by granting the subpoena.
U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta in Washington last year found that Mazars should hand over some, but not all, of the financial records sought by a House committee.