Oversight and Reform Chairman Elijah Cummings Sued by Trump
|thenorthstar||Apr 26, 2019|
House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) is being sued by President Donald Trump and his private businesses in an effort to block a subpoena requesting financial records from Trump’s accountant. The president filed the complaint on April 22 in a DC federal court. The suit is an effort to stop subpoenas authorized by Cummings for financial information about Trump’s business from Trump’s accounting firm, Mazars USA LLP, CBS News reported.
"Chairman Cummings has ignored the constitutional limits on Congress' power to investigate," the lawsuit obtained by the news station read. "Article I of the Constitution does not contain an 'Investigations Clause' or an 'Oversight Clause.' It gives Congress the power to enact certain legislation. Accordingly, investigations are legitimate only insofar as they further some legitimate legislative purpose," the complaint reads.
Last week, Cummings issued a subpoena demanding financial information from 2011 to 2018 about the president’s businesses from his accounting firm, The Hill reported. Earlier this month, the chairman announced that he was planning to subpoena documents from Mazars to support information from former lawyer Michael Cohen’s testimony — which, among other things, noted that the president misrepresented his personal net worth while asking for loans, according to the publication.
In March, Cummings requested financial information from the accounting firm for information dating back to 2009, according to the AP. A lawyer from Mazars told the publication it could not “voluntarily” hand over the documents, which prompted the subpoena.
In the complaint, Trump blamed Democrats and claimed the party is “using their new control of congressional committees to investigate every aspect of President Trump’s personal finances, businesses, and even his family,” according to The Hill. Trump has also filed for a temporary restraining order and has given Cummings a shorter time to respond, according to CBS News.
“Instead of working with the president to pass bipartisan legislation that would actually benefit Americans, House Democrats are singularly obsessed with finding something they can use to damage the President politically,” the lawsuit read, according to The Hill. In a statement to The Hill, Cohen’s lawyer, Lanny Davis, said he and his client would not “dignify the personal accusations in the filings except to say that frivolous things said by frivolous people don’t deserve a serious response.”
Cummings said the complaint "reads more like political talking points than a reasoned legal brief." "The president has a long history of trying to use baseless lawsuits to attack his adversaries, but there is simply no valid legal basis to interfere with this duly authorized subpoena from Congress," Cummings told CBS News. "[The complaint] contains a litany of inaccurate information. The White House is engaged in unprecedented stonewalling on all fronts, and they have refused to produce a single document or witness to the Oversight Committee during this entire year."
Following the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report last week, Cummings said he “can foresee” the possibility of impeachment proceedings against the president during CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday, NBC News reported.
"I think [Mueller] basically said to us as a Congress, 'It's up to you to take this further with regard to obstruction and the other matters that might come up,'" Cummings said during the segment.
About the Author
Maria Perez is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has an M.A. in Urban Reporting from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. She has been published in the various venues, including Newsweek, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, City Limits, and local newspapers like The Wave and The Home Reporter.