Dem uses new tactic to get Trump's tax returns

Dem uses new tactic to get Trump's tax returns
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Democrats are trying a new tactic in their campaign to get their hands on President Trump's tax returns.

Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) on Friday introduced a "resolution of inquiry" directing Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to provide the House with copies of 10 years of Trump's tax returns, as well as any information the department has on Trump's debt held by foreign governments and companies, investments in foreign countries and businesses, and use of tax-avoidance maneuvers.

Under House rules, resolutions of inquiry can be brought to the House floor if they are not considered in committee within 14 legislative days.

Trump is the first president in decades to not make his tax returns public. He has said he won't release his tax returns while he is under audit by the IRS, though the IRS has said that nothing prevents people from releasing their own tax information.

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"The smoldering pile of potential conflicts around President Trump is starting to flare up. Whether it's branding deals with foreign governments or local D.C. businesses claiming the President's hotel holds an unfair advantage, we cannot ignore the signs," Pascrell said in a statement. "I'm a firm believer in the maxim where there's smoke, there's fire. The smoke is billowing out of the White House right now. We need to act and we have the power to act. I'm not sure what we're waiting for."

The House Ways and Means Committee has jurisdiction over Pascrell's resolution. Under federal tax law, the chairmen of the Ways and Means Committee, Senate Finance Committee and Joint Committee on Taxation can request tax returns from the Treasury and review them in a closed session.

But the House's tax-writing committee is unlikely to approve Pascrell's measure. Democrats have already offered amendments related to Trump's tax returns twice during Ways and Means markups, and both times the amendments were blocked on party-line votes. 

Chairman Kevin BradyKevin BradyGOP chairman: More tax-reform hearings coming in July Overnight Finance: CBO finds 22M more uninsured under Senate health bill | GOP agrees ObamaCare taxes must go | Supreme Court to look at Dodd-Frank whistleblower protections | More tax reform hearings | Green light for partial travel ban | Highway Trust Fund in need of a long-term fix MORE (R-Texas) has said that requesting Trump's tax returns would be an abuse of the committee's authority.

Pascrell and Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) have also tried to force floor votes on requesting Trump's tax returns. Republicans blocked both with procedural tactics.

House Democrats' efforts on Trump's tax returns are part of their broader strategy to force Republicans to take tough votes.

Last week, the House Judiciary Committee rejected a resolution of inquiry from Rep. Jerrold Nadler (R-N.Y.) that would have directed the Justice Department to provide documents about Trump's potential conflicts of interest and ties to Russia.

On Thursday, Reps. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) and Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) introduced a resolution of inquiry instructing Trump and Attorney General Jeff SessionsJeff SessionsMcCaskill attended reception at Russian ambassador's residence in 2015 Sessions: Supreme Court travel ban order a victory for separation of powers Russia recalling ambassador at center of Trump campaign controversy: report MORE to provide Congress with documents concerning communications between Trump advisers and Russian officials.