Finance

Schumer calls for Trump Cabinet picks to turn over tax returns

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Incoming Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) called Wednesday for more of President-elect Donald Trump’s Cabinet picks to turn over their tax returns.

Steven Mnuchin and Tom Price—Trump’s picks to lead the Treasury and Health and Human Services departments, respectively—have already given their three most recent years of tax returns to the Senate Finance Committee. Schumer tweeted Wednesday that other Cabinet picks “must” follow suit.

 

One of Schumer’s tweets singled out Rex Tillerson, Exxon Mobil’s CEO and Trump’s pick for secretary of State.

Tillerson and Exxon Mobil have extensive business ties with other countries, including Russia. Those connections have inspired Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, to press Tillerson on releasing his returns. But the committee’s chairman, Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), has said that the panel traditionally does not ask for returns.

Democrats have stepped up pressure in recent weeks for Trump’s other nominees to provide their tax returns to the Senate.

During a press conference earlier this month, several Democratic senators argued that Senate rules should be changed to require Cabinet and other senior nominees to turn over three years of tax returns.

They argued that the returns should be scrutinized because many of Trump’s Cabinet picks are wealthy and may have conflicts of interest. A CBS News estimate puts the combined wealth of seven of Trump’s Cabinet picks at $11 billion.

Currently, only three Senate committees require nominees that they consider to submit their tax returns: the Finance, Budget and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs panels. 

During the campaign, Trump became the first major-party presidential nominee in decades to refuse to release his tax returns—a decision that drew criticism from Democrats as well as some Republicans. Trump said he would release his returns once the IRS finished auditing him, while the IRS said that audits don’t bar people from releasing their own tax information.

Senate Finance Committee ranking member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) introduced legislation earlier this year that would require presidential nominees to make their tax returns public. Wyden intends to reintroduce the bill next year and have it apply to sitting presidents as well as nominees.

Tags Ben Cardin Bob Corker Charles Schumer Chuck Schumer Donald Trump Ron Wyden
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