Skip to Content
 

issues

 

Trump's Tax Returns

THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER

"The Presidential campaign is over and the fear that a political opponent will try to use tax returns for electoral benefit is passed. President Trump is now governing while also owning a business with international investments. The Constitution faces unprecedented threats due to this arrangement. I believe the powerful Ways and Means Committee has the responsibility to use that power to ensure proper oversight of the executive branch by requesting a review of President Trump’s tax returns and moving towards a formal release of these documents to the public." – U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, member of the Ways and Means Committee

WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT?

President Trump has chosen to keep an ownership stake in his businesses, the scope of which we have no knowledge of as he has refused to disclose his tax returns. We believe that it is imperative for the public to know and understand his 564 financial positions in domestic and foreign companies, and his self-reported net worth of more than $10 billion. We know that state-owned enterprises in China and the United Arab Emirates are involved in his businesses, and that his business ties stretch to India, Turkey, the Philippines, and beyond. Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Taiwan may also have ties to his businesses.

These foreign entities are paying rents, licensing agreement payments, and issuing permits for developments -- effectively giving them a tool to influence our new President. None of these potential conflicts can be verified until and unless we have disclosure from President Trump. Every major Presidential candidate since Richard Nixon, with the exception of President Gerald Ford who released a summary of tax data, has released his or her tax returns for public review. Until now.

A CHRONOLOGY OF ATTEMPTS

  1. February 1, 2017 LETTER (BRADY) - Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ) sent a letter to Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) asking him to use his authority under Section 6103 of the Internal Revenue Code to request ten years of tax return documents for President Donald Trump in order to review them in closed committee for conflicts.
  2. February 3, 2017 AMENDMENT (COMMITTEE) - At the subsequent Ways and Means Committee, during a markup of a Views and Estimates Letter, Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) introduced amendment that would have forced Chairman Brady to obtain Trump's tax returns for review by the committee. It was vote down on party lines, but every Democrat spoke in favor of it, dragging the markup out into the evening.
  3. February 13, 2017 LETTER RESPONSE (BRADY) - Chairman Brady commented to the press that he would not use his authority to seek President Trump's tax returns.
  4. February 27, 2017 PRIVILEGED RESOLUTION (FULL HOUSE) - Pascrell offered a Privileged Resolution that would have forced a release of Trump's tax returns. Republicans voted it down on party lines (voted to table the appeal), 229-185, with two Republicans, Walter Jones (R-NC) and Mark Sanford (R-SC), voting "present."
  5. March 1, 2017 LETTER (HATCH) - Pascrell attended a press conference with Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Tom Carper (D-DE) to discuss their efforts to obtain Trump's tax returns via Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT).
  6. March 2, 2017LETTER (BRADY/HATCH) - Pascrell sent a second letter to Chairmen Hatch and Brady asking them to use their authority under Section 6103 to request Trump's tax returns. 165 members signed on to the letter, including two Republicans (Jones, Sanford).
  7. March 3, 2017LETTER RESPONSE (BRADY/HATCH) Chairmen Brady and Hatch responded formally to Pascrell letter saying+ they believed using Section 6103 would be an abuse of the committees' powers.
  8. March 7, 2017PRIVILEGED RESOLUTION (FULL HOUSE) - Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) offered a privileged resolution similar to the one Pascrell offered the week before. This was also tabled along party lines, 227-186, though Jones voted with the Democrats opposing the motion to table, and Sanford again voted present.
  9. March 8, 2017AMENDMENT (COMMITTEE) - The Ways and Means Committee met to markup the American Health Care Act. Doggett again offered an amendment to force request of Trump's tax returns. It was also voted down on party lines.
  10. March 9, 2017 RESOLUTION OF INQUIRY (COMMITTEEE/FULL HOUSE) - Pascrell introduced a Resolution of Inquiry, which would force the Ways and Means Committee to vote on whether to obtain Trump's tax returns within 14 legislative days. If they do not meet to do so, any member can bring the resolution to the floor for a full vote.
  11. March 15, 2017 PRIVILEGED RESOLUTION (FULL HOUSE) - Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY) offered a Privileged Resolution similar to Pascrell. This was also tabled along party lines, 227-186, though Jones voted with the Democrats opposing the motion to table, and Sanford again voted present.
  12. March 21, 2017 PRIVILEGED RESOLUTION (FULL HOUSE) - Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) offered a Privileged Resolution similar to Pascrell. This was also tabled along party lines, 227-186, though Jones voted with the Democrats opposing the motion to table, and Sanford again voted present.
  13. March 27, 2017PRIVILEGED RESOLUTION (FULL HOUSE) - Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) offered a Privileged Resolution similar to Pascrell. This was also tabled along party lines, 227-186, though Jones voted with the Democrats opposing the motion to table, and Sanford again voted present.
  14. March 28, 2017 RESOLUTION OF INQUIRY RESPONSE (COMMITTEEE/FULL HOUSE) Ways and Means markup Pascrell Resolution of Inquiry (H. Res. 186). After extensive discussion, measure defeated on party lines in committee and will not be voted on by the full House.
  15. April 3, 2017 PRIVILEGED RESOLUTION (FULL HOUSE) - Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) offered a Privileged Resolution similar to Pascrell. This was also tabled along party lines, 227-186, though Jones voted with the Democrats opposing the motion to table, and Sanford again voted present.
  16. April 5, 2017DISCHARGE PETITION (FULL HOUSE) - Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) offered a discharged petition, which Leader Pelosi and you signed, to force a vote on her bill, the Presidential Tax Transparency Act (H.R. 5386), which would require any major candidate for President to provide a copy of their tax returns for the three most recent years as of the date of their nomination.
  17. May 16, 2017 PRIVILEGED RESOLUTION (FULL HOUSE) - Pascrell offered a Privileged Resolution that would have forced a release of Trump's tax returns.
  18. May 23, 2017 PRIVILEGED RESOLUTION (FULL HOUSE) – Rep. Linda Sanchez offered a Privileged Resolution that would have forced a release of Trump's tax returns.
  19. June 7, 2017PRIVILEGED RESOLUTION (FULL HOUSE) – Rep. Mike Capuano offered a Privileged Resolution that would have forced a release of Trump's tax returns.
  20. June 13, 2017PRIVILEGED RESOLUTION (FULL HOUSE) – Rep. Lloyd Doggett offered a Privileged Resolution that would have forced a release of Trump's tax returns.
  21. July 11, 2017 PRIVILEGED RESOLUTION (FULL HOUSE) – Rep. David Cicilline offered a Privileged Resolution that would have forced a release of Trump's tax returns.
  22. July 27, 2017 RESOLUTION OF INQUIRY (COMMITTEEE/FULL HOUSE) - Pascrell introduced a resolution of inquiry (H. Res. 479), which would force the Ways and Means Committee to vote on whether to obtain Trump’s personal and business tax returns within 14 legislative days.
  23. September 7, 2017 RESOLUTION OF INQUIRY (COMMITTEE) Ways and Means markup Pascrell Resolution of Inquiry (H. Res. 479). The measure was defeated on party lines in committee and was not voted on by the full House.
  24. November 9, 2017 AMENDMENT (COMMITTEE) The Ways and Means Committee met to markup the H.R. 1 (tax reform). Mr. Pascrell offered an amendment to force request of Trump's tax returns. It was also voted down on party lines.
  25. December 20, 2017 LETTER (TRUMP) Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ) sent a letter to President Donald J. Trump urging him to release his tax returns in the name of transparency, citing Trump’s many promises to release his tax returns for public analysis.
  26. March 27, 2018 LETTER (BRADY) - Pascrell issued a letter to Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX-08) calling for the Committee to conduct oversight of foreign profits President Trump and the Trump Organization have received and to seek Trump’s tax returns, citing a series of articles highlighting questions about profits the Trump family has reaped from foreign entities.
  27. July 26, 2018LETTER (IRS/FEC) - Pascrell led 94 Members of Congress in sending a letter to the heads of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Federal Election Commission (FEC) demanding they launch an investigation of Donald Trump and the Trump Foundation, including a formal probe into Trump’s tax returns.
  28. September 13, 2018 AMENDMENT (COMMITTEE) Ways and Means markup amendment offered by Reps. Pascrell, Doggett, and Crowley would require Ways and Means Chairman to request President's tax returns and those of his business. The measure was defeated on party lines in committee and was not voted on by the full House. 
  29. January 9, 2019BILL (FULL HOUSE) - Reps. Pascrell and Eshoo introduced H.R. 273, the Presidential Tax Transparency Act, which would require Presidents and presidential candidates to publicly disclose their 10 most recent federal income tax returns.
  30. March 8, 2019OP-ED (THE HILL) - Rep. Pascrell penned an op-ed for The Hill laying out the case to pursue Trump's Tax Returns in light of the shocking testimony given by Trump's long-time personal attorney Michael Cohen.
  31. March 8, 2019BILL (FULL HOUSE) - Rep. Pascrell and House Democrats led the passage of H.R. 1, a sweeping anti-corruption bill that would, among other things, require presidential and vice presidential candidates to disclose their tax returns for public review.
  32. April 3, 2019 (Letter-IRS) Chairman Richard Neal, on behalf of the House Ways and Means Committee, on which Mr. Pascrell serves, sends a letter to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig requesting six years (2013-2018) of Trump’s business and personal returns pursuant to the authority given to the Chairman under Internal Revenue Code Section 6103(f) to request tax return and return information, setting a deadline of April 10, 2019.
  33. April 13, 2019 (Letter-IRS) After the deadline is missed, Chairman Neal sends a second letter to IRS Commissioner Rettig for the information requested in the April 3 letter, setting a new deadline of April 23, 2019.
  34. May 10, 2019 (Subpoenas-Treasury and IRS) After the failure of the IRS to hand over the requested tax returns, Chairman Neal issues separate subpoenas to Treasury and to IRS to hand over the six years of Donald Trump’s personal and business tax returns by May 17, 2019. Secretary of the Treasury Mnuchin and Commissioner Rettig decline to comply.
  35. July 2, 2019 (Lawsuit-U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia) The House Ways and Means Committee files suit in Federal Court to enforce the committee subpoena and obtain the requested Trump tax returns. The case was assigned to a Trump appointee, Judge Trevor McFadden.
  36. August 8, 2019 (Letter-Treasury) Chairman Neal sends a letter to Secretary Mnuchin requesting information related to a whistleblower complaint brought to the Committee by a career IRS employee alleging improprieties in the Presidential/Vice-Presidential audit process. Secretary Mnuchin replies that he has no pertinent information and directs the Committee to the IRS Inspector-General.
  37. August 20, 2019 (Motion for Summary Judgment-U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia) The House Ways and Means Committee files a motion for summary judgment and to expedite the proceedings. The motion references the whistleblower complaint. Judge McFadden on August 29,2019 rules against the motion. The judge directs the parties to sequentially brief the threshold issues and merits questions.
  38.  September 30, 2019 (Briefs on justiciability issue-U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia) Briefing by both parties on the threshold issues is completed on September 30, 2019. The court holds a hearing on the threshold issues on November 6, 2019. The judge urges the parties to work out a compromise. After a telephone conference with the parties, Judge McFadden stays the lawsuit on January 14, 2020, pending a decision in the Committee on the Judiciary v. McGahn, a separate subpoena enforcement case pending in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
  39.  January 28, 2020 (Motion to Lift Stay-U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia) The House Ways and Means Committee files a motion to lift the stay, deny the Trump administration’s motion to dismiss, and require expeditious briefing of the case, in light of the dwindling time remaining in the 116th Congress. The defendants filed a response opposing the motion, to which the House responded on February 15, 2020. The motion is still pending.
  40. February 7, 2020 Rep. Pascrell excoriated U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin for providing financial records of Hunter Biden to Republican senators in a transparently partisan move, while actively refusing to comply with the House's legal request for Trump's tax records.
  41. March 3, 2020 During a Ways & Means Committee hearing, Rep. Pascrell told Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin point blank that Mnuchin was breaking the law by refusing to turn over Donald Trump’s business and personal tax returns to the Committee. Watch here.
  42. September 22, 2020 Rep. Pascrell was named Chairman of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight, a position of significant authority over tax-related issues. Committee Chair Richard Neal (D-MA-01) said of the appointment, "A fierce advocate for government accountability, Bill Pascrell will undoubtedly bring tremendous vigor to the role of Oversight Subcommittee Chairman."
  43. September 27, 2020 The New York Times published stunning revelations of fraud and criminality in a report exposing Donald Trump’s tax returns. Responding to the reports, Rep. Pascrell said, "Trump is a cheat, a fraud, and perhaps the worst businessman in the world."
  44. September 30, 2020 In his first move as Oversight Chairman, Rep. Pascrell called on Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner Charles Rettig to testify before the panel to address several issues, including revelations of possible tax evasion and avoidance by Donald Trump.

New York State’s TRUST Act

The New York State legislature provided a possible avenue for the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee to obtain Trump’s NY state tax returns with the enactment of the TRUST Act in July 2019. However, upon enactment of that law, Donald Trump filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to block New York officials and the Committee from utilizing the new law, despite the fact that Chairman Neal had given no indication that he would request Trump’s state tax returns under the new law. A different judge, Carl Nichols, another Trump appointee, was assigned to the case. 

The New York officials responded with a motion to dismiss Trump’s suit on the grounds that a Washington, D.C. court had no jurisdiction over the actions of New York official regarding a law of New York. The judge agreed and dismissed the New York defendants from the case in November 2019. Shortly thereafter, the court issued an order requiring that Chairman Neal give Trump contemporaneous notice of any request that might be made for Trump’s tax returns under the New York law.  In addition, the Committee was ordered not to accept the returns for 14 days after the request in order to give Trump time to contest their release. The House has appealed this decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Chairman Neal has not requested the returns thus far.

WATCH NOW

CNN: SHOULD CONGRESS FORCE RELEASE OF TAX RETURNS?

TO THE POINT: ALL OF THE PRESIDENT'S TAXES

VIDEO: SENATORS JOIN CALL FOR TAX RETURNS

TO THE POINT: WHITE HOUSE ETHICS


RELATED NEWS LINKS

1. Congress Has the Power to Obtain and Release Trump's Tax Returns
2. Congress Should Investigate Trump Taxes
3. House Republicans Reject Latest Pascrell Effort
4. House GOP Reject Pascrells Request for Trump Tax Records
5. Trump Says G.O.P. Tax Bill Wouldn’t Benefit Him. That’s Not True
6. The True State of Donald Trump’s Union? Unlimited Corruption
7. Paul Ryan Is the Silent Partner in Trump’s War on the Rule of Law


    Back to top