Top Finance Dem reintroduces bill that would require Trump to release tax returns

Senate Finance Committee ranking member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) on Thursday reintroduced a bill that would require President TrumpDonald John TrumpJustice Department preparing for Mueller report as soon as next week: reports Smollett lawyers declare 'Empire' star innocent Pelosi asks members to support resolution against emergency declaration MORE to publicly release his tax returns.

The Presidential Tax Transparency Act, which Wyden first introduced in May of 2016, would require sitting presidents and presidential nominees to release their tax returns publicly.

Wyden said in a statement Thursday that the legislation is necessary to "ensure public transparency."

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“Trump blew off a 40-year, bipartisan, pro-transparency tradition by refusing to release his tax returns — a tradition that dates all the way back to Watergate. It’s not just a matter of the president destroying a good-government campaign tradition," Wyden said in the statement.

"Week after week more questions are raised about Trump’s financial connections that could influence his foreign and tax policy decision making. This legislation is the one-two punch needed to keep the Trump administration from stonewalling congressional oversight efforts, and ensure public transparency if Trump’s tax returns get tied up in court," he continued.

Trump refused to publicly release his tax returns when he was a candidate for president, even after he became the presumptive Republican nominee. That prompted Wyden to first introduce the legislation.

Trump has continued to withhold his tax returns while serving as president, claiming that he can't release them because they are under audit. The IRS, however, has said an audit does not prevent someone from releasing personal tax information.

Wyden's statement Thursday notes a New York Times story published in October that alleged Trump made millions from "dubious" tax schemes.

Wyden last year called on the IRS to investigate the findings of that report, calling the revelations "allegations of potentially illegal tax fraud."

“These media reports represent serious and credible allegations of potentially illegal tax fraud, based on extensive documentation,” Wyden wrote in a letter IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig at the time.