WASHINGTON, D.C.—Democracy Forward filed suit against the Department of the Treasury (the “Department”) to force the Trump Administration to reveal details of closed-door “listening sessions” Administration officials held with unknown parties while developing its soon-to-be revealed tax proposal.
The suit was filed after the Department made clear it would not provide any information about the meetings for three months— after the fate of President Trump’s tax plan is expected to be determined.
Former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer announced in July that the Trump Administration had conducted “hundreds, if not close to a thousand listening sessions” with outside interests to help develop President Trump’s tax policy. Administration officials have routinely touted the result of those meetings: A proposed overhaul of the current tax code that will overwhelmingly benefit the top 1% of taxpayers while raising taxes on over 40 million American households.
Despite the impact such a proposal would have on American families, the Department has failed to release any information on these closed-door discussions, including the identities of the participants. In September, days after President Trump announced the framework for his plan, which he described as the “largest tax cut in history,” the Department continued to withhold documents and instructed Democracy Forward to follow up in December 2017 — after the Administration hopes the tax debate will be over.
“The American people deserve to know what corporate interests are secretly crafting President Trump’s tax plan,” said Democracy Forward Executive Director Anne Harkavy. “President Trump’s proposal is a boon for the wealthy and well-connected, and Americans across the country is are asking: ‘Why don’t I have a seat at the table?’”
The suit was filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
Democracy Forward is a nonprofit legal organization that scrutinizes Executive Branch activity across policy areas, represents clients in litigation to challenge unlawful actions, and educates the public when the White House or federal agencies break the law.
December 7, 2018