Sept. 6, 2017

House Ways and Means Committee Must End Questions of Possible Trump Conflicts of Interest by Requiring Disclosure of Tax Returns

Statements of Public Citizen Experts

Note: Thursday the U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee will mark up H.Res. 479, introduced by U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.), which would require the Internal Revenue Service to furnish the House with copies of the tax returns for President Donald Trump and his businesses. On Tuesday, Public Citizen released a report (PDF) showing that Trump formed at least 49 business entities since announcing his candidacy – some even after winning in November and taking office in January – highlighting the ongoing conflicts of interest that plague his presidency.

Trump has made a mockery of the public’s trust by maintaining ownership of his businesses after entering the White House. We urge the Ways and Means Committee to pass H. Res. 479 to require disclosure of his taxes and put in place additional prohibitions on Trump using his office to enrich himself. This is more than a financial issue. Public transparency on Trump’s taxes qualifies as a national security issue too. Trump’s foreign policy decisions on Russia and other countries, for instance, could be affected by personal financial stakes he has in Russia. If he doesn’t have any financial interests in Russia or anywhere else that may impact his decision-making, he should show us.

-Lisa Gilbert, vice president of legislative affairs for Public Citizen

Passage of Rep. Pascrell’s resolution would provide a critical key to understanding how the Trump administration’s tax ‘reform’ proposals would personally benefit the president and his family. As proposals to slash programs like Medicare, Medicaid, nutrition assistance and education to fund tax cuts for the rich are being debated, the American public deserves to know how much Trump would be personally enriched by changes to the tax code.

-Susan Harley, deputy director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division