Jan. 23 (UPI) -- A federal judge has ordered the Treasury Department to notify former President Donald Trump's lawyers in advance before releasing his tax returns.
U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden, a Trump-appointee, ordered the Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service in a hearing Friday to give Trump's personal lawyers 72 hours notice if it decides to provide the tax returns to the House Committee on Ways and Means.
Committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., has sought the returns to conduct oversight and consider legislation related to how the IRS enforces tax laws against a president.
The committee filed a lawsuit in 2019 against the Treasury Department and IRS to obtain six years of Trump's personal tax returns and some of his business returns after they refused to comply with requests and subpoenas. Neal renewed calls for the documents after a New York Times report in September showed Trump didn't pay taxes in 10 of the 15 years ending in 2017.
James Gilligan, a Department of Justice lawyer representing the Treasury Department and the IRS, said it has not yet been determined whether President Joe Biden's administration will provide returns to the committee.
"This is only their second day in office," he said Friday.
McFadden said the order will last for two weeks. He ordered attorneys to file a status report by Feb. 3.
House counsel Douglas Letter said during Friday's hearing the committee still wants the returns and the Treasury Department has "a clear legal obligation" to provide them.
"Our feeling is enough is enough," Letter said. "The status is clear."
Neal has cited a law requiring former treasury secretaries to turn over returns that chairs of Congress' tax committees requested. Former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin refused to provide the tax returns to the committee, saying Neal didn't have a "legitimate purpose," for them, prompting the lawsuit.