If you recall back to the 2016 Presidential campaign, Donald Trump, as a candidate, was the first in modern times to decline the release of his personal tax returns. At first, he said the returns were under routine audit and he would consider releasing them once the audit was complete. The time came and went on that promise and eventually Trump simply decided not to release the returns calling the request a “media witch hunt.” His further rationale was that the voters he spoke with didn’t care about his tax returns, it was only his political adversaries who wanted them released. It is illegal for the Internal Revenue Service to release tax returns to the public without the explicit consent of the taxpayer. Barring any “leaks” from within, Trump’s tax returns have been safely locked away from prying eyes.

That, however, could change if Democrats take control of the House of Representatives in November. In fact, if Democrats take the house, there is very little preventing them from at least obtaining copies of the tax returns privately, though releasing them to the public would still be illegal.

The HuffPost reports on just how adamant some Democrats are about getting access to those returns if Democrats win the House:

“You’re damn right” Democrats will vote to get Trump’s tax returns if they win a majority in November, said Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.).

“As the smoke continues to build with one revelation after another, there is greater need than ever to see what Trump may be hiding in his personal tax returns, the return information to explain them and those of the 500 business entities, which he controls from here to Azerbaijan,” said Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas).

Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), who is a co-chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee, a messaging body for the party leadership, said, “If Democrats take back the House, I’ll fully support efforts to finally make his tax returns public.”

Bills introduced by Democratic lawmakers to require future presidential candidates, including Trump, to disclose their tax returns have gone nowhere in their respective committees.

Pascrell says he’s going to keep pressing the issue, whether in the minority or the majority. “We have a right to know if there are any potential conflicts of interest that affect him,” Pascrell said.

Once Democrats in the House get ahold of the returns, there isn’t much to prevent their contents from being fully or partially leaked. Leaking the returns would be a crime, sure, but it may be a leak Democrats would like to see prior to the 2020 election, especially if the returns contain information which shows the semblance of wrongdoing or challenge claims about Trump’s true net worth. We really have no idea what, if anything, the returns would contain that would damage the President, but Democrats are betting it may help them politically by promising to push forward on this topic if they control the House.

Politico also says that if Democrats had the majority in the Senate, they could do the same thing:

But according to the rules already on the books, the Senate doesn’t need a new law to see Trump’s returns. Rather, action by a single Senate Republican may be all that is needed to initiate an immediate investigation of Trump’s tax returns and begin the process of discovery.

According to a law passed in 1924, in part to address concerns about conflicts of interest involving executive branch officials such as treasury secretary Andrew Mellon, the House Ways and Means Committee, the Senate Finance Committee, and the Joint Committee on Taxation have the right to obtain from the IRS any person’s tax returns—including the president’s—without his consent and to conduct an investigation. If there is a legitimate purpose, the committees may then release the tax information to the Congress for potential disclosure to the public.

Right now, the Republicans hold a mere one-vote majority in the Finance Committee, which means consent by a single Republican on that committee could be enough to authorize committee action. Once authorized, the committee could act immediately and unilaterally without the agreement of the rest of Congress, the passage of a new law, or the filing of any lawsuit.

As Politico notes, the Senate is controlled by Republicans, and the prospects for Democrats to take it back in 2018 are grim. But, if Democrats somehow did win the Senate back, or were able to persuade a single Republican on the committee to join them, they too could gain easy access to Trump’s tax returns by a simple request.

How far this message will go with voters is another matter. Surely there are plenty of Democrats who see this as a winning issue because they believe the President is hiding something – ties to Russia? – other financial crimes? – the possibilities, as they see them, are endless.

7 COMMENTS

  1. I’m sure the IRS has audited his tax returns and if they had a problem we would already know about it. I see no reason for Congress to pry into his returns if the IRS has had no problem with them. Sounds like the Dems are just trying to find anything that they could put on Trump or just delay things and keep them from doing some serious work for the people. There are much more important things to be working on than trying to get tax returns that the IRS has already decided were correct and no problems exist.

    • The IRS would only be involved if there was a tax issue. Congress wants the tax returns to see HOW he got his money, to see if he is under anyone’s thumb, for instance.

  2. Trump started using the story that he was being audited by the IRS way back in 2016 even before he was elected to the presidency. This was, and still remains, Trump’s excuse for not publicly releasing his tax returns. Truth being, there is no law, or IRS rule, that restricts one from releasing their income tax even while being audited. So, exactly what is Trump hiding from American voters? Is he not really as wealthy as he claims? Or is he much wealthier than he claims? It is no secret that Trump has financial business interests in Saudi Arabia, Asian countries and possibly Russia and his tax returns, if accurate, would tell us where, when and how the income was derived. Trump’s hidden foreign interests are a matter of national security and learning the true facts about them should never be abandoned

      • Or saving the spotted owl, or getting the original Coke back, or making sure The Big Bang Theory stays on the air after next year!!!!!

        I really don’t like “Whataboutism,” in which a person tries to change the subject by bringing up something totally irrelevant to the topic being discussed.

    • Rob Tibbetts, Mollie’s father, strongly addressed the racist undertones used by the Trumps, Jr. and Sr., about Mollie’s death. Tibbetts said: “The person who is accused of taking Mollie’s life is no more a reflection of the Hispanic community as white supremacists are of all white people.”

      A jury decided Kate Steinle’s death was the result of a ricochet bullet fired by Garcia Zarate from roughly 100 feet away and was an accident. Garcia Zarate remains in jail on a felony possession charge and this trial is set for November.

      To his credit, Trump has condemned the brutal acts of M13 gangs. In many ways, the gang is Trump’s perfect villain. It is exclusively Latino and recruits in heavily migrant neighborhoods. The maximum number of U.S. homicides associated with MS13’s in a given year of gang-related homicides is only about 2% of the total gang-related homicides in the United States. MS13 members are known for their face and body tattoos and the savagery of the crimes they commit. Many of it’s members are US citizens and not subject to deportation.

      Regarding Trump’s hidden tax returns…what more can be said. If Trump was honest and above board about how much money he actually makes…where and how he makes it…he would release his income tax returns for public consumption. Trump is not the first rich man who became a U S president. He is the first rich U S president to refuse to tell U S citizens the extent of his income from the Arabian countries and from the Soviet block of countries.

Comments are closed.