House Democrats are taking aim at President Trump’s tax returns with their first major bill package of their new majority.
The provision, announced Friday morning, would require presidents, vice presidents and candidates for those offices to release the last 10 years of their taxes. The President is the first in more than four decades to refuse to divulge his personal finances.
The provision is part of a larger package of ethics, campaign security and voting rights legislation. And like much of the rest of the bill, it’s mostly being pushed for optics and messaging reasons, as it’s almost certain that the provision won’t become law.
That doesn’t mean the fight over Trump’s taxes is going away anytime soon, however. The move is just the latest Democratic attempt to pressure Trump to release his tax returns.
There are existing federal laws that many Democrats believe could force Trump to release his taxes, and the House Ways & Means Committee plans to push to use those laws to try to force the issue. Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA), the newly minted committee chairman, has said he plans to make the effort in the coming months, though the issue will likely end up being decided by the courts, as there’s some disagreement over interpretations of the relevant laws.
The bill includes various other government ethics and campaign finance reforms as well, including new disclosure requirements for presidential inaugural committees which don’t currently exist.
New House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) said the package of bills was focused in part on “requiring the president to disclose his financial interests as soon as he takes office” during a Friday press conference with other Democratic leaders.