Push for Trump Tax Returns Moves to Senate

By Jackson, Herb; @HerbNJDC | The Record (Bergen County, NJ), March 2, 2017 | Go to article overview

Push for Trump Tax Returns Moves to Senate


Jackson, Herb, @HerbNJDC, The Record (Bergen County, NJ)


Democrats pushing to see President Donald Trump's tax returns to determine if he has conflicts of interest focused their attention Wednesday on the chairman of a key Senate committee after the House rejected an attempt by Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. to force the issue Monday night.

"The law is with us without any, any question," Pascrell, D-Paterson, said at a news conference with three Democratic senators on the Finance Committee, whose chairman, Republican Orrin Hatch of Utah, has the authority to demand copies of tax returns from the Treasury Department. "The alarming revelations pointing to Russian involvement in the Trump campaign and administration have raised the stakes."

Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said she was leading an effort to get Hatch to use a 1924 law to obtain Trump's tax returns so the committee could see them in private. If members decide there is something involving national security or interest that requires it, the committee could vote to make the returns public, she said.

"Five weeks after President Trump took office, we still do not know the extent of his business holdings in foreign countries and his financial ties to Russia," Stabenow said. "We do know that the president's business entanglements reach around the globe."

Stabenow said she would start with a letter to Hatch signed by other Democrats on the committee.

Pascrell said he is also sending a letter Thursday to Hatch and to House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady that is signed by 140 House members, including two Republicans, Walter Jones of North Carolina and Mark Sanford of South Carolina.

"Seeing the president's tax returns would give us a picture of debts owed, investments made, (and) assets tied up in ... many foreign countries," Pascrell said. "Because the president most likely is today violating the Constitution of the United States. The emoluments clause prohibits gifts from foreign states, and the American public deserves to know what conflicts the president is ... operating under when he makes policy decisions."

Trump broke with a 40-year tradition by refusing to release his tax returns during the 2016 campaign, citing an audit. After the inauguration, adviser Kellyanne Conway said he would not release them because the election had shown it was not an important issue.

But in Congress, lawmakers are questioning whether Trump has a conflict because he has not fully separated himself from his real estate and business empire. …

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