As the deadline approaches for Americans to file their taxes, House Democrats are launching new efforts to force President Donald Trump to disclose his tax returns.
The latest, filed Wednesday, is a "discharge petition" put forth by Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) to require the president, future presidents, and presidential nominees to release their tax returns.
Eshoo tweeted Wednesday morning: "It's about time that @realDonaldTrump's taxes saw the light of day."
— Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (@RepAnnaEshoo) April 5, 2017
As The Hill explains,
Presidential nominees would have to provide their three most recent years of tax returns to the Federal Election Commission (FEC).
If presidents or nominees fail to take those actions, the OGE [Office of Government Ethics ] and FEC would request the returns from the Treasury Department and make them publicly available.
Politico writes that this "latest effort to produce the president's tax documents won't be successful," noting that it's only secured two Republican co-sponsors so far: Reps. Mark Sanford (S.C.) and Justin Amash (Mich.), and it needs a majority of House signatures to get to a vote.
But on getting more GOP backing, Eshoo said at press conference that she's "an optimist," and expected such support to grow as "it's meritorious" and is what the lawmakers' constituents want.
She added: "I am hopeful that Republicans will see the light—some have—and I think that more will."
Illinois Rep. Jan Schakowsky, who was also at the press conference, added: "The American people are demanding these tax returns, and the pressure will not let up. We want to know!"
"The American people are demanding these tax returns, and the pressure will not let up. We want to know!" pic.twitter.com/yunrut6rQC
— Jan Schakowsky (@janschakowsky) April 5, 2017
Whether it fails or succeeds, Politico continues, the procedural maneuver
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is one more way Democrats can call attention to Republican stonewalling on the issue. They say Trump's taxes have national security implications amid ongoing questions about Trump's potential ties to Russia, and that the topic is more important than ever as Republicans turn to Trump's next legislative priority: tax reform.
But that priority would be thwarted until Trump releases his tax returns with legislation Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) put forth Monday. His resolution, The Hill writes,
would direct the House to delay consideration of tax-reform legislation until after lawmakers review Trump's tax returns and determine how the president could benefit from tax-code changes.
The resolution also calls on the House to request Trump's tax returns so that the House Ways and Means Committee could review them in a closed session.
Salon notes that its "the sixth week in a row [that] Democrats in Congress have attempted to force President Donald Trump to release his tax returns."
The new legislative efforts come less than two weeks ahead of Tax Day marches in over 100 cities across nation which aim "to remind Donald Trump: He works for us now."
The call-to-action for the march says:
Throughout the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump told the American people he would release his tax returns and come clean about his business dealings, as presidential candidates and presidents have done for decades. Despite intense public pressure, President Donald Trump has not yet done so. In refusing to release these tax returns, he is able to hide his business dealings, financial ties, and conflicts of interest.
Within days of his inauguration, the White House petition calling on Trump to release his tax returns garnered the most signatures on a White House petition, ever. The Trump administration's response? "People don't care."
On April 15th, we're marching on Washington, D.C., and in communities across the country to show that we do care. And that we're not going away. Tens of thousands of Americans will send a clear message to Donald Trump: The president is accountable to the American people, and he must answer to us.
"Without his tax returns, we're in the dark ... about whether he's operating on behalf of himself or all Americans," Delvone Michael, a senior political strategist for the National Working Families Party and a member of The Tax March executive committee, said to CNN.
— Trump Tax March (@taxmarch) April 4, 2017