The progressive advocacy group CREDO Action on Monday launched a petition calling on House Democrats to investigate President Donald Trump's long-concealed tax returns and practices—including allegations of tax fraud, whether he has "compromising financial ties to Russian oligarchs or the super-rich in America," and how he's benefiting from the last year's "tax scam" and his presidency—as well as enact sweeping anti-corruption legislation.
"We cannot know the extent of Trump's corruption until we see his tax returns, and that must top of the list for the new Democratic House majority."
Now that the Republican Party has lost its majority control in the U.S. House of Representatives, Democratic Rep. Richard Neal of Massachusetts, soon-to-be chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, reportedly plans to use his new position to attempt to acquire the president's tax returns directly from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
"The American people gave Democrats a mandate for oversight and accountability of the Trump administration. That starts with investigating Donald Trump's tax returns," declares a statement from CREDO about the petition, which already has been signed by more than 37,000 people—about 75 percent of the group's goal of 50,000.
"Trump bucked bipartisan tradition and refused to release his tax returns. He may be hiding outright tax fraud, compromising financial ties to Russian oligarchs, or the simple illegal profiting from his position," the statement notes. "We cannot know the extent of Trump's corruption until we see his tax returns, and that must top of the list for the new Democratic House majority."
The petition comes just a month after a bombshell New York Times report that challenged Trump's favored narrative that he is a "self-made" billionaire by revealing schemes concocted so that he could avoid paying taxes on wealth that was transferred from his parents to the president and his siblings.
What is Trump hiding in his tax returns? https://t.co/dQ3wIDH8DD
— Tax March (@taxmarch) November 12, 2018
It also follows the $1.5 trillion tax legislation that Trump signed late last year to benefit major corporations and wealthy Americans, including him and his family. On top of profiting from what critics called the GOP tax scam, Trump and his children also stand accused of making money off of his status as president.
In addition to probing Trump's financial dealings, the petition demands that Democrats force reforms to promote transparency in the future. Specifically, it praises the Presidential Tax Transparency Act, introduced by Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, which would require candidates to release at least three years of tax returns within 15 days of being nominated.
While Trump appears hellbent on keeping his tax returns under lock and key, in an interview with CNN last week, Neal expressed hope that the president may still consider releasing them. Ultimately, though, it seems the congressman is preparing for a fight.
"I think the president has an opportunity here to defuse this and just release the forms as every other candidate for president has done," Neal said. "Even if the request is made, I don't expect that afternoon we're going to see those tax forms. So I think we'll do what we have to do, and then see where the road takes us and the path that we travel."
Acknowledging Neal's pursuit, the CREDO statement concludes, "It is up to us to ensure that corporate Democrats do not sabotage these efforts—and insist that every Democrat back sweeping investigations into Trump's alleged tax fraud and corruption."