New Congress targets 10 years of Trump's tax returns


Democrats are coming for Trump's tax returns — and letting him know what to expect now that they're in charge.

Democrats will officially take over the majority in the House of Representatives on Thursday, but they're already letting Trump know that the time for accountability has arrived.

According to CNN, Democrats are making presidential tax returns a priority and are poised to use several different mechanisms to demand that Trump turn over his own records, which he has gone to great lengths to keep hidden from the public.

In one of their first pieces of legislation in the new year, H.R. 1, Democrats will include a provision requiring all presidential nominees to hand over 10 years of tax returns shortly after becoming the nominee. The tax returns would be posted for public viewing on the website of the Federal Election Commission.

The move is part of "an effort to build the case to the American people that time is up on President Donald Trump keeping his own tax returns from the public, shutting what could be a window into his personal wealth," CNN reports.

Previously, Democrats had planned to draft a bill that would require presidential nominees to turn over three years of tax returns, but after reviewing precedent, they moved the marker to 10 years.

As the presumptive GOP nominee for 2020, the new legislation would mandate that Trump release his returns during the presidential campaign.

In addition to the legislative approach, Democrats are also pursuing other avenues to get Trump to hand over his tax returns.

Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee believe they have the power to get Trump's tax returns from the Treasury Department using the IRS code. The incoming chairman of the committee, Rep. Richard Neal of Massachusetts, plans to use that approach to try to obtain the returns when he takes charge of the committee.

Trump has repeatedly refused to hand over the records since he became president despite promising to release his tax returns when he was a candidate. He has justified his refusal by claiming that he is under audit by the IRS, but being under audit doesn't mean he can't release his tax returns.

In the past, Republicans have shut down efforts to get Trump's tax records, but their ability to do so is limited now that the balance of power has shifted.

While obtaining Trump's tax returns is a priority for the new Congress, it's far from the only way they're planning to use their new oversight duty to hold Trump accountable.

Just before the holidays, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), the incoming chairman of the House Oversight Committee, sent 51 letters to the Trump administration and other entities demanding "full compliance" with pre-existing requests for information and documents pertaining to a slew of issues and unanswered questions.

Many of the requests for information stem from previous inquiries from Republicans which the White House ignored, and which the GOP failed to pursue.

Now, as Democrats prepare to take control of the House of the Representatives in just one day, they're already letting Trump know that the jig is up — and sending a clear message that he should be prepared for what's about to come.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.