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.

{mosads}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 McConnell (Ky.), Speaker Paul Ryan (Wis.), Sens. Joni Ernst (Iowa), John McCain (Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and Susan Collins (Maine), and Reps. Rodney Frelinghuysen (N.J.), Jason Chaffetz (Utah), Mark Sanford (S.C.), Walter Jones (N.C.), Steve Knight (Calif.), Matt Gaetz (Fla.), Carlos Curbelo (Fla.), Justin Amash (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.

Tags Jason Chaffetz John McCain Justin Amash Lindsey Graham Mitch McConnell Paul Ryan Rodney Frelinghuysen Susan Collins

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