Congressman David Cicilline released released a statement today announcing the introduction of a bill that would require the President of the United States to release tax returns.
“As President-elect Donald Trump continues to refuse to release his tax returns, raising questions regarding conflicts of interest and breaking with nearly four decades of precedent, U.S. Congressman and incoming Democratic Policy and Communications Committee (DPCC) Co-Chair David N. Cicilline (D-RI) today introduced legislation requiring the public disclosure of tax returns filed with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) by the President of the United States.
“Americans have a right to know whether their elected officials are acting in the public interest, especially when that person holds the Office of President of the United States,” said Cicilline, who serves on the House Judiciary Committee. “This commonsense legislation will be a critical tool in ensuring that the President of the United States always operates under the strictest ethical scrutiny and standards.”
The Presidential Tax Disclosure Act requires any individual holding the Office of President of the United States to submit a copy of his or her Federal income tax returns to the Director of the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) during his or her time in office. The Director of OGE will then have up to seven days to make the President’s tax returns publicly available on the Internet, in addition to submitting them to the House Committees on the Judiciary, on Ways and Means, and on Oversight and Government Reform, as well as the Senate Committees on the Judiciary and on Finance.
During the 2016 campaign, President-elect Trump was the first major party presidential nominee since Gerald Ford to refuse to release his tax returns, and he has continued to withhold them since his election to the presidency. The New York Times, which acquired a copy of the President-elect’s 1995 tax returns last October, demonstrated that he may have avoided paying federal income taxes for up to 18 years.
President-elect Trump’s failure to voluntarily release his tax returns raises serious questions regarding how his extensive financial holdings could impact his decisions in office. And although he has indicated that three of his children will take over the Trump Organization as a “blind trust,” they are also serving as members of his presidential transition committee, at the same time their father has refused to divest himself of his business holdings.
Public polls taken during the 2016 consistently demonstrated that a majority of the American people want President-elect Trump to publicly release his tax returns. The Presidential Tax Disclosure Act makes such a disclosure mandatory, ensuring that President-elect Trump, and any future presidents, will have any potential conflicts of interest made public.”