Republicans Refuse to Open Investigation Into Trump’s Tax Returns

Tuesday, as Americans were learning that the National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, Republicans were circling the wagons to stop Democrats or the average Joe from finding out if there were even more Russia ties to the President of the United States. Representatives in the House Ways and Means Committee thought there may be a chance to get the tax returns that President Trump will not release. They tried to use an old law which grants the chairmen of the Ways and Means Committee, the Senate Finance Committee and the Joint Committee on Taxation to make a request of tax documents of an elected official. The documents would be only viewed in a private setting and only used for a particular reason. For Trump it would to prove whether or not he does have ties to Russia.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas), though, is having none of it. There are those who believe this measure to not investigate Trump’s taxes is the Republicans way of covering for the administration. Yet, Brady said that is not the reason. “My belief is that if Congress begins to use its powers to rummage around in the tax returns of a president, what prevents Congress from doing the same to average Americans.” Continuing Brady said, “Privacy and civil liberties are still important rights in this country, and [the] Ways and Means Committee is not going to start to weaken that.”

Democrats are crying foul. Representative Bill Pascrell (D-N. J) had requested in writing that the House and Ways Means Committee open the investigation. “President Trump is now governing while also owning a business with international investments,” he wrote in his letter. “The Constitution faces unprecedented threats due to this arrangement.” Pascrell also stated that honoring the request it would allow the public to judge Trump’s conflicts of interest.

After Brady’s comments, Pascrell said in a statement that “I hoped and still hope that my friend Kevin Brady will put country over party. This isn’t a partisan issue,” he said, promising to keep pressing the issue.” Many people believe that Pascrell is correct in asking for the viewing of Trump’s tax records. More than 800,000 Americans have signed a petition demanding the release of Donald Trump’s tax returns. Polls show that a majority of the country wants to see the documents. Yet, Trump’s counselor, Kellyanne Conway, has repeatedly stated that the American public doesn’t even care if Trump releases his tax returns. Trump is the first President not to release his tax returns in decades going back to President Richard Nixon.

When the committee voted on the issue it came down to party lines. The vote was 23-15, with Republicans voting not to request President Trump’s tax returns from the Treasury Department. Here is a list of those Republicans who voted not to look into the President’s tax returns per an investigation into whether or not Trump’s business holdings have any connection to Russia.

1. Kevin Brady of Texas
2. Sam Johnson of Texas
3. Devin Nunes of California
4. Pat Tiberi of Ohio
5. Dave Reichert of Washington*
6. Peter Roskam of Illinois*
7. Vern Buchanan of Florida
8. Adrian Smith of Nebraska
9. Lynn Jenkins of Kansas
10. Erik Paulsen of Minnesota*
11. Kenny Marchant of Texas
12. Diane Black of Tennessee
13. Tom Reed of New York
14. Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania
15. Jim Renacci of Ohio
16. Pat Meehan of Pennsylvania*
17. Kristi Noem of South Dakota
18. George Holding of North Carolina
19. Jason Smith of Missouri
20. Tom Rice of South Carolina
21. David Schweikert of Arizona
22. Jackie Walorski of Indiana
23. Carlos Curbelo of Florida*

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