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Democratic Leader Pelosi, House Democratic Members Launch Discharge Petition on Eshoo Legislation Requiring the President to Release Tax Returns

April 5th, 2017

Washington, D.C. – Today, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, together with Reps. Anna Eshoo (CA-18), Bill Pascrell (NJ-9), Richard Neal (MA-1) and Hakeem Jeffries (NY-8) launched a discharge petition on Rep. Eshoo’s Presidential Tax Transparency Act.  A discharge petition requires 218 signatures from Members of the House to force a vote on the bipartisan legislation which requires the President and all future presidents and nominees to publicly disclose their tax returns.

President Trump is the first president since Watergate to refuse to release his tax information to the public. Full release of the President’s tax returns through passage of the Presidential Tax Transparency Act will provide the public with clear information as to his potential conflicts of interest and entanglements with foreign governments and businesses.  A recent Washington Post-ABC News poll found that 74 percent of Americans, including 53 percent of Republicans, believe the President should release his tax returns.

“All roads lead back to the President’s tax returns, and the light they can shine on his actions,” said Leader Pelosi.  “Week after week, Republicans have voted to help President Trump stonewall the American people.  What are Republicans so desperate to keep hidden?  Democrats are demanding a vote to make President Trump’s tax returns public, so that the American people can see for themselves the extent of his financial interests, and whether they are steering his decisions.”

“In 2011, Mr. Trump said he would release his tax returns if he ran for president, yet the American people are still in the dark on what conflicts of interest this President is hiding,” Congresswoman Eshoo said.  “We’re taking this step today to force a vote on this legislation because President Trump has more potential conflicts of interest than any president in our history.  The Presidential Tax Transparency Act ensures that all future presidents and nominees will never be able to hide their conflicts of interest from the American people.”

“Every President since Gerald Ford – on both sides of the aisle – has released his tax returns to the American people,” said Congressman Neal.  “There is significant precedent for President Trump to do so, yet he continues to withhold his returns. I call on President Trump to release his tax returns.”

“The American people deserve to know whether or not the President is using his position to lead this country forward or simply to line his pockets,” said Congressman Pascrell. “We know that President Trump is still personally profiting from his businesses while leading this nation.  What is far less clear, however, is whether President Trump’s interest are aligned with the country or with the Russian oligarchs that have been and still may be his business partners.  The President must release his tax returns, or Congress must serve as a check and demand them, to help substantiate or negate these unprecedented concerns.”

“Donald Trump is a living, breathing conflict of interest.  He came to Washington promising to drain the swamp,” Congressman Jeffries said.  “Instead, the President has muddied the waters in a manner that would make Richard Nixon proud.  Every President since Gerald Ford has produced his tax returns to the American people.  Donald Trump should not be held to a different standard and that’s why this discharge petition is so important.”

Background on the Presidential Tax Transparency Act:

According to the Tax History Project, every President since 1976 has released his tax returns while in office, but this practice is not required by current law. The Presidential Tax Transparency Act requires the President and all major party Presidential nominees to publicly disclose their previous three years of tax returns with the Office of Government Ethics or Federal Election Commission. “Major parties” are defined in the tax code as parties whose candidate received more than 25 percent of the popular vote in the previous presidential election. If a president or candidate fails to disclose their tax returns, the Secretary of the Treasury is required to provide redacted copies for public disclosure.

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