Responding to an opinion from the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel denying a congressional request for President Donald Trump's tax returns, a law professor from Georgetown launched a tweetstorm detailing -- point by point -- what the DOJ is helping to hide from the public.
In the late Friday opinion, the OLC stated: "We advised that, although the text of section 6103(f) does not require the Committee to state any purpose for its request, Congress could not constitutionally confer upon itself the right to compel a disclosure by the Executive Branch of confidential information that does not serve a legitimate legislative purpose.”
According to Georgetown law professor Marty Lederman, the OLC is keeping Congress from their constitutionally mandated oversight responsibilities.
In a series of tweets, Lederman began, "The real shocker in the OLC opinion on the tax-return subpoena--the serious threat to Congress's crucial oversight role--is not OLC's conclusion that W&M's stated justification ('we need to investigate how the IRS audits presidents') is pretextual, but instead the opinion's assertion that what it (rightly) identifies as the *real* (or at least the principal) reasons for the subpoena *are illegitimate.* "
With that he pointed out what the OLC feels is out of bounds, later adding, "In this respect the OLC opinion is of a piece with Trump's brief in Mazars--it's a fundamental attack on the power of Congress to investigate and expose, to itself and the public, whether and how the POTUS's duty of undivided loyalty to the public interest may be compromised."
You can see the tweets below:
2/ ... but instead the opinion's assertion that what it (rightly) identifies as the *real* (or at least the princip… https://t.co/W6HdJOB2A4— Marty Lederman (@Marty Lederman)1560597288.0
4/ -- to “help protect against violations of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution and conflicts of interest, i… https://t.co/xnW8Pvre4X— Marty Lederman (@Marty Lederman)1560597288.0
6/ -- to "help those investigating Russian influence in the 2016 election”; assess whether "the Russians have on Do… https://t.co/GzF6tjaPoU— Marty Lederman (@Marty Lederman)1560597288.0
8/ In this respect the OLC opinion is of a piece with Trump's brief in Mazars--it's a fundamental attack on the po… https://t.co/IeBncIA7qi— Marty Lederman (@Marty Lederman)1560597289.0
10/ The real scandal is Footnote 19--i.e., what Trump & OLC think Congress is constitutionally forbidden from inves… https://t.co/vT5QNaRjz1— Marty Lederman (@Marty Lederman)1560597289.0