Author Archives: Andy Grewal

The Second Circuit’s Botched “Zone of Interests” Analysis in CREW v. Trump

by Andy Grewal — Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019

In CREW v. Trump, some private parties have alleged that President Trump has violated the Constitution’s emoluments clauses through his continued business activities. They believe that the Constitution forbids a President from transacting with foreign or domestic governments, and that President Trump’s doing so harms them. They claim that their businesses compete with the President’s […]

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The Solicitor General’s Curious Defense of the Economic Substance Doctrine

by Andy Grewal — Monday, Sept. 9, 2019

The taxpayers in Tucker v. Commissioner recently filed a petition for certiorari with the Supreme Court, asking it to review whether their complex transaction generated benefits under the federal tax code. The Fifth Circuit held that compliance with federal tax statutes was not enough, and that the judge-made economic substance doctrine “empowers the federal courts […]

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The President’s Tax Returns

by Andy Grewal — Friday, May 3, 2019

My prior posts have explored some of the constitutional issues related to the battle for President Trump’s tax returns.  I’ve now posted a full length law review article, “The President’s Tax Returns,” and would appreciate reader comments. Here’s the abstract: The President’s Tax Returns This Article examines whether congressional committees enjoy the unrestricted authority to demand […]

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Congress Might Already Have Trump’s Taxes

by Andy Grewal — Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019

Since the control of the House switched earlier this month, Democrats have reiterated their desire to obtain President Trump’s tax returns. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, Rep. Richard Neal, the chairman of the Ways & Means Committee, intends to request those returns from the IRS. My prior posts have examined some of […]

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Michael Cohen, Hush Money, and Trump’s Potential Criminal Liability

by Andy Grewal — Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018

The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York (the SDNY) recently filed its sentencing memo in U.S. v. Michael Cohen. That memo has led to substantial speculation over whether the SDNY has evidence that President Trump criminally violated the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA). Many commentators believe that the SDNY does, particularly because […]

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The Whitaker Appointment Controversy and Some Potential Collateral Damage

by Andy Grewal — Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018

Shortly after the 2018 midterm elections, President Donald Trump accepted Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ resignation. Under a default statutory rule, when the office of Attorney General becomes vacant, the Department of Justice’s Deputy Attorney General may “exercise all the duties of that office.” See 28 U.S.C. § 508. If this provision had applied, Deputy Attorney […]

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The Battle for Trump’s Taxes and the President’s Potential Revenge

by Andy Grewal — Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018

The 2018 midterm elections are around the corner, and Democrats are favored to retake the House. Democratic leaders have indicated that, should they regain control, they will perform robust investigations into President Trump and his administration. Trump’s tax returns have drawn particularly strong interest, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has already promised that obtaining […]

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When IRS Guidance Backfires

by Andy Grewal — Friday, Sept. 7, 2018

This week, the IRS tried to clarify how proposed regulations on state tax credit programs apply to Section 162(a) business deductions. But its attempted clarification has created only more problems. Under the proposed regulations, a taxpayer who makes a transfer to a Section 170(c) organization must reduce her charitable contribution deduction by the amount of any state […]

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The New SALT Regulations Need a Few More Sprinkles

by Andy Grewal — Friday, Aug. 24, 2018

After Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, several states adopted a charitable contribution strategy to help their residents avoid the new Section 164 deduction limits for state and local tax payments. Under the strategy, taxpayers would make donations to state-controlled funds and receive state tax credits for those donations. Taxpayers would then use […]

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Can Montana Force the IRS to Break the Law?

by Andy Grewal — Tuesday, July 31, 2018

The IRS recently changed the rules on how some tax-exempt organizations must report information related to their “substantial contributors” (that is, those who donate $5,000 or more in a year). This change has sparked a political controversy, fueled by concerns over “dark money” in politics and the Citizens United decision. One state (Montana) has already […]

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