Tax march protesters pressure Republicans who called for Trump tax returns

Tax march protesters pressure Republicans who called for Trump tax returns
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Organizers of the upcoming march on Washington, D.C., to demand the release of President Trump’s tax returns are putting pressure on GOP lawmakers who have called for them to be made public.

More than a dozen Republican members of Congress have said Trump should make his tax returns available to the public, in line with four decades of presidential precedent. 

But most of them have stayed away from Democratic legislative efforts to force the returns’ release.

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In letters provided to The Hill on Tuesday, the Tax March’s organizers asked the lawmakers to attend the April 15 march and take “concrete action” to direct House and Senate committees with oversight of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to request Trump’s tax returns for review.

“This tax discussion is about more than just one President. We are marching to ensure that our democracy is not compromised by conflicts of interest or financial entanglements. We demand nothing less than full transparency and accountability from our current and future Commanders-in-Chief — and we expect our elected officials, regardless of party, to hold the President accountable,” the protest organizers wrote.

Recipients of the letters included Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOn The Money: Senate banking panel showcases 2020 Dems | Koch groups urge Congress not to renew tax breaks | Dow down nearly 400 | Cuomo defends Amazon HQ2 deal GOP senator accuses fellow Republican of spreading ‘fake news’ about criminal justice reform bill The Hill's 12:30 Report - New White House threat to Acosta's press pass | Trump defends criticism of McRaven | Hamilton biographer to headline WHCA dinner MORE (Ky.), Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanPaul Ryan defends Navy admiral after Trump's criticism On The Money: Senate banking panel showcases 2020 Dems | Koch groups urge Congress not to renew tax breaks | Dow down nearly 400 | Cuomo defends Amazon HQ2 deal Koch groups: Congress shouldn't renew expired tax breaks MORE (Wis.), Sens. Joni Ernst (Iowa), John McCainJohn Sidney McCainTrump stokes new unlikely feud Meghan McCain: Living without father like 'some awful parallel universe' Leon Panetta’s nightmare is today's national security crisis MORE (Ariz.), Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamCIA's report complicates US response to Khashoggi murder Leon Panetta’s nightmare is today's national security crisis The Hill's Morning Report — GOP victorious in Florida while Dems say `Sunbelt strategy’ looks bright for 2020 MORE (S.C.) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsMcConnell, Flake clash over protecting Mueller probe Overnight Defense — Presented by Raytheon — Border deployment 'peaked' at 5,800 troops | Trump sanctions 17 Saudis over Khashoggi killing | Senators offer bill to press Trump on Saudis | Paul effort to block Bahrain arms sale fails Senators introduce bill to respond to Khashoggi killing MORE (Maine), and Reps. Rodney FrelinghuysenRodney Procter FrelinghuysenOvernight Energy: Trump to nominate Wheeler as EPA chief | House votes to remove protections for gray wolves | Lawmakers aim to pass disaster funds for California fires Lawmakers say California will eventually get emergency funding for fire relief New Jersey New Members 2019 MORE (N.J.), Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzUtah New Members 2019 Fox News contributor mocks Elizabeth Warren with photo at Disneyland Eric Trump blasts professor at alma mater Georgetown: ‘A terrible representative for our school’ MORE (Utah), Mark Sanford (S.C.), Walter Jones (N.C.), Steve Knight (Calif.), Matt Gaetz (Fla.), Carlos Curbelo (Fla.), Justin AmashJustin AmashThe real winner of the 2018 midterms: individual liberty Scarborough rips Graham for saying he’ll introduce legislation to end birthright citizenship: He’s ‘degrading’ himself for Trump GOP lawmaker: Trump 'cannot amend Constitution or laws via executive order' MORE (Mich.), David Young (Iowa), John Katko (N.Y.), Will Hurd (Texas), Tom MacArthur (N.J.) and Leonard Lance (N.J.).

Trump has said he won’t release his tax returns because of an ongoing IRS audit. But the agency has said people can still disclose their returns nonetheless.

House Democrats forced six procedural floor votes in as many weeks before leaving for the April recess to demand Trump’s tax returns. All of the votes failed along party lines, with only Sanford and Jones defecting from their party.

In addition, GOP members of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee have turned down efforts from Democrats on the panel to request Trump's returns.

Democrats also announced a “discharge petition” last week on a bill that would require presidents and presidential nominees to release their tax returns. 

Discharge petitions can trigger House floor votes on bills if a majority of members sign on to them. However, they are rarely successful. 

Two Republicans, Sanford and Amash, have signed on to the underlying bill but not the discharge petition. 

With the exceptions of Sanford and Jones, most Republicans who have said Trump should release his tax returns have rejected the Democratic efforts to use the powers of congressional committees to request them for a variety of reasons.

Some believe that Trump should release the tax returns on his own, instead of Congress unilaterally forcing him to. Others have dismissed the Democrats' efforts as unserious publicity stunts.

A January ABC News-Washington Post poll found that 74 percent of Americans think Trump should release his tax returns, including 40 percent who said they care “a lot” about the issue. 

The march will be held on the traditional day that serves as a deadline for Americans to file their annual tax returns. This year's Tax Day is on April 18 because the usual April 15 is on a Saturday.