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Pascrell, Eshoo Hail Upcoming Hearing on Presidential Tax Returns

Bill would impose needed transparency on Presidents and presidential candidates to release financial returns

WASHINGTON, January 31, 2019

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Reps. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (NJ-09) and Anna G. Eshoo (CA-18) issued a joint statement on the announcement by the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight that it would convene a hearing Feb. 7 to assess existing authority and proposed legislation on presidential tax returns, including their legislation, H.R. 273, the Presidential Tax Transparency Act. The legislation requires sitting Presidents and Vice Presidents, and candidates for the presidency and vice-presidency of major parties, to publicly disclose their 10 most recent federal income tax returns.

“The discussion of the Presidential Tax Transparency Act by the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight is a welcome sign that transparency remains a central focus of our new Congress,” said Reps. Eshoo and Pascrell. “Before 2016, presidential candidates routinely disclosed their tax returns. Donald Trump refused to clear that low bar, and as a result the American people remain in the dark about the extent of his financial entanglements and potential conflicts of interest. We look forward to using this first hearing to discussing the critical importance of full tax disclosure for any man or woman seeking the presidency and how our Presidential Tax Transparency Act would create permanent sunlight for our nation.”

According to the Tax History Project, every president since 1976 has released their tax returns while in office, but this practice is not required by current law. The Presidential Tax Transparency Act requires sitting Presidents and Vice Presidents, and candidates for the presidency and vice-presidency of major parties, to submit their 10 most recent federal income tax returns to the Federal Election Commission and make them available to the public. “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 IRS is required to provide redacted copies to the FEC for public disclosure.

Rep. Pascrell has been Congress’s most vocal proponent of releasing President Trump’s tax returns in order to reveal any potential conflicts of interest. Since February 2017, Pascrell has led the call for the chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means to invoke Section 6103 of the tax code to obtain Trump’s tax returns. Pascrell believes that exposing the tax returns to sunlight is critical to revealing any potential conflicts of interest, including those with Russian entities. With today’s proceedings, Republicans have voted 18 times to block Democratic resolutions seeking the tax returns.

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