MURPHY, WYDEN REINTRODUCE BILL REQUIRING PRESIDENT TRUMP TO PUBLICLY RELEASE HIS TAX RETURNS

Measure supports House efforts to use congressional authority to obtain tax returns in closed session

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) joined U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D- Ore.) on Friday in reintroducing the Presidential Tax Transparency Act to require sitting presidents and presidential nominees to release their tax returns to the public. Murphy and Wyden first introduced this legislation in May 2016 after then-presidential candidate Trump broke his promise to release his tax returns.

“Presidents have a lot of power—they can unilaterally change federal contracts, influence foreign governments, and impose sanctions. Americans deserve to know if the foreign policy decisions presidents make are based on the best interests of the country or made to benefit the president’s pocketbook. President Trump’s bizarre history of nonsensical foreign policy decisions could easily be explained by his or the Trump Organization’s financial ties to countries like Russia and Saudi Arabia. This legislation would ensure Americans know the truth about President Trump and every other presidential candidate, and will prevent the Trump administration from stonewalling congressional oversight efforts,” said Murphy.

The Presidential Tax Transparency Act requires sitting presidents to release their most recent 3 years of tax returns to the Office of Government Ethics (OGE).  It also requires that, within 15 days of becoming the nominee at the party convention, presidential nominees must release their most recent 3 years of tax returns to the Federal Election Commission (FEC). Should the sitting president or future candidates refuse to comply, the Treasury Secretary will be required to provide the tax returns directly to the OGE or FEC respectively for public release.

Section 6103 of the U.S. tax code grants the Chairman of the Finance Committee and the Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee authority to obtain the president’s tax returns from the Treasury Department. According to reports, House Democrats plan to use this authority to demand Trump’s tax returns, but Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has not said whether he would comply.

Joining Murphy and Wyden in introducing the Presidential Tax Transparency Act are U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Ben Cardin, (D-Md.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.)

A one-page summary of the legislative proposal can be found here. The bill text can be found here.

 

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