NOTICE OF INTENTION TO OFFER RESOLUTION RAISING A QUESTION OF THE PRIVILEGES OF THE HOUSE
(House of Representatives - May 16, 2017)

Text available as:

Formatting necessary for an accurate reading of this text may be shown by tags (e.g., <DELETED> or <BOLD>) or may be missing from this TXT display. For complete and accurate display of this text, see the PDF.

        

[Pages H4212-H4213]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




   NOTICE OF INTENTION TO OFFER RESOLUTION RAISING A QUESTION OF THE 
                        PRIVILEGES OF THE HOUSE

  Mr. PASCRELL. Mr. Speaker, pursuant to clause (2)(a)(1) of rule IX, I 
rise to give notice of my intent to raise a question of the privileges 
of the House.
  The form of the resolution is as follows:
  Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the 
President shall immediately disclose his tax return information to 
Congress and the American people;
  Whereas, in the United States' system of checks and balances, 
Congress has a responsibility to hold the executive branch of 
government to the highest standard of transparency to ensure the public 
interest is placed first;
  Whereas, according to the Tax History Project, every President since 
Gerald Ford has disclosed their tax return information to the public;
  Whereas, tax returns provide an important baseline disclosure because 
they contain highly instructive information, including whether the 
candidate paid taxes, number one; what they own, number two; what they 
have borrowed and from whom, number three; whether they have made any 
charitable donations, number four; and whether they have taken 
advantage of tax loopholes, number five.
  Whereas, disclosure of the President's tax returns could help those 
investigating Russian influence in the 2016 election understand the 
President's financial ties to the Russian Federation and Russian 
citizens, including debts owed and whether he shares any partnership 
interests, equity interests, joint ventures, or licensing agreements 
with Russia or Russians;
  Whereas, the President fired FBI Director James Comey last week, 
whose FBI was investigating whether the Trump campaign colluded with 
Russia to influence the 2016 election;
  Whereas, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who made the recommendation 
to fire Director Comey, during sworn testimony--the Interior Ryan Zinke 
to review national monuments that Presidents have designated or 
expanded since 1996;
  Whereas, this review was praised by industry groups who could benefit 
financially from oil, gas, mining, and condemned by environmental 
organizations concerned this review will scrap or scale back critical 
Federal designation to protect tribal and historic lands;
  Whereas, the American people are in the dark to knowing if this 
review was started to justify selling or leasing public lands to 
private corporations that could enrich the President or his business 
partners without reviewing the President's tax returns;
  Whereas, it has been reported that Federal prosecutors have issued 
grand jury subpoenas to associates of former National Security Adviser 
Michael Flynn seeking business records as part of the ongoing probe 
into Russian involvement in the 2016 election;
  Whereas, according to his 2016 candidate filing with the Federal 
Election Commission, the President has 564 financial positions in 
companies located not only in the United States but around the world;
  Whereas, against the advice of ethics attorneys and the Office of 
Government Ethics, the President has refused to divest his ownership 
stake in his businesses and can still withdraw funds at any time from 
the trust of which he is sole beneficiary;
  Whereas, the Emoluments Clause was included in the United States 
Constitution for the express purpose of preventing Federal officials 
from accepting any--from the Constitution, article I, section 9--
``present Emolument, Office, or Title . . . from any King, Prince, or 
foreign state'';
  Whereas, the most signed petition on the White House website calls 
for the release of the President's tax return information to verify 
compliance.
  The legislative branch has the responsibility and the authority to 
check the executive branch in section 6103 of the Tax Code--in 1924 
allows for an examination of his tax returns, the authority put in 
place specifically so Congress could examine the conflicts of interest 
in the executive branch of government following the biggest scandal of 
the 20th century, the Teapot Dome scandal.

                              {time}  1900

  Nothing could be more of a threat to the integrity of the House than 
ignoring our duty to fully examine the personal financial entanglements 
this President may have with Russian entities and individuals and 
whether he has abused the tax laws of the United States of America.
  We have nothing but evidence to justify such an examination. If and 
when such conflicts are revealed, I do not want to say to our 
constituents that we had the power to review these conflicts, but we 
did nothing. I, for one, do not want my integrity, or the integrity of 
my colleagues on either side of the aisle in this body, to be demeaned 
by such a shameful failure.
  To restore the dignity of the House, we must use our authority to 
request

[[Page H4213]]

President Trump's tax returns and give the American people the 
transparency they deserve.
  Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent to dispense with the oral 
announcement of the resolution in order that the entire text appears in 
the Record.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Taylor). Is there objection to the 
request of the gentleman from New Jersey?
  There was no objection.
  The form of the resolution is as follows:

       Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that 
     the President shall immediately disclose his tax return 
     information to Congress and the American people.
       Whereas, in the United States' system of checks and 
     balances, Congress has a responsibility to hold the Executive 
     Branch of government to the highest standard of transparency 
     to ensure the public interest is placed first;
       Whereas, according to the Tax History Project, every 
     President since Gerald Ford has disclosed their tax return 
     information to the public;
       Whereas, tax returns provide an important baseline 
     disclosure because they contain highly instructive 
     information including whether the candidate paid taxes, what 
     they own, what they have borrowed and from whom, whether they 
     have made any charitable donations, and whether they have 
     taken advantage of tax loopholes;
       Whereas, disclosure of the President's tax returns could 
     help those investigating Russian influence in the 2016 
     election understand the President's financial ties to the 
     Russian Federation and Russian citizens, including debts owed 
     and whether he shares any partnership interests, equity 
     interests, joint ventures or licensing agreements with Russia 
     or Russians;
       Whereas, the President fired FBI Director James Comey last 
     week, whose FBI was investigating whether the Trump campaign 
     colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 election
       Whereas, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who made the 
     recommendation to fire Director Comey, during sworn testimony 
     neglected to mention his contacts with the Russian ambassador 
     and recused himself from anything involving the Russian 
     investigation;
       Whereas, Senate Russia investigators have requested 
     information from the Treasury Department's criminal 
     investigation division, the Financial Crimes Enforcement 
     Network, or FinCEN, which handles cases of money laundering, 
     for information related to President Trump, his top officials 
     and campaign aides. FinCEN has been investigating allegations 
     of foreign money-laundering through purchases of U.S. real 
     estate;
       Whereas, the President's tax returns would show us whether 
     he has foreign bank accounts and how much profit he receives 
     from his ownership in myriad partnerships;
       Whereas, the President hired a law firm to send a letter to 
     Senator Lindsey Graham to fight suggestions he has Russian 
     business ties; this letter left open the question whether Mr. 
     Trump or his firms received Russian income or loans or 
     derived income from Russian-linked partnerships.
       Whereas, Donald Trump Jr. said the Trump Organization saw 
     money ``pouring in from Russia'' and that ``Russians make up 
     a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our 
     assets.''
       Whereas, the White House will not confirm whether the 
     President has filed a 2016 tax return;
       Whereas, Congress gave itself the authority to review an 
     individual's tax returns to investigate and reveal possible 
     conflicts of interest of executive branch officials involved 
     in the Teapot Dome scandal.
       Whereas, President Donald Trump's executive order on the 
     Review of designations under the Antiquities Act has directed 
     the U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke to review 
     national monuments that presidents have designated or 
     expanded since 1996.
       Whereas, this review was praised by industry groups who 
     could benefit financially from oil, gas and mining and 
     condemned by environmental organizations concerned this 
     review will scrap or scale back critical federal designation 
     to protect tribal and historic lands.
       Whereas, the American people are in the dark to knowing if 
     this review was started to justify selling or leasing public 
     lands to private corporations that could enrich the President 
     or his business partners without reviewing the President's 
     tax returns.
       Whereas, it has been reported that federal prosecutors have 
     issued grand jury subpoenas to associates of former National 
     Security Advisor Michael Flynn seeking business records as 
     part of the ongoing probe into Russian involvement in the 
     2016 election;
       Whereas, according to his 2016 candidate filing with the 
     Federal Election Commission, the President has 564 financial 
     positions in companies located in the United States and 
     around the world;
       Whereas, against the advice of ethics attorneys and the 
     Office of Government Ethics, the President has refused to 
     divest his ownership stake in his businesses; and can still 
     withdraw funds at any time from the trust of which he is the 
     sole beneficiary;
       Whereas, the Emoluments Clause was included in the U.S. 
     Constitution for the express purpose of preventing federal 
     officials from accepting any ``present, Emolument, Office, or 
     Title . . . from any King, Prince, or foreign state'';
       Whereas, the most signed petition on the White House 
     website calls for the release of the President's tax return 
     information to verify compliance with the Emoluments Clause, 
     with 1 million, 94 thousand signatures as of date of this 
     resolution;
       Whereas, the Chairmen of the Ways and Means Committee, 
     Joint Committee on Taxation, and Senate Finance Committee 
     have the authority to request the President's tax returns 
     under Section 6103 of the tax code;
       Whereas, the Joint Committee on Taxation reviewed the tax 
     returns of President Richard Nixon in 1974 and made the 
     information public;
       Whereas, the Ways and Means Committee used IRC 6103 
     authority in 2014 to make public the confidential tax 
     information of 51 taxpayers;
       Whereas, the American people have the right to know whether 
     or not their President is operating under conflicts of 
     interest related to international affairs, tax reform, 
     government contracts, or otherwise: Now, therefore, be it:
       Resolved, That the House of Representatives shall--
       1. Immediately request the tax return information of Donald 
     J. Trump for tax years 2006 through 2015 for review in closed 
     executive session by the Committee on Ways and Means, as 
     provided under Section 6103 of the Internal Revenue Code, and 
     vote to report the information therein to the full House of 
     Representatives
       2. Support transparency in government and the longstanding 
     tradition of Presidents and Presidential candidates 
     disclosing their tax returns.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under rule IX, a resolution offered from the 
floor by a Member other than the majority leader or the minority leader 
as a question of the privileges of the House has immediate precedence 
only at a time designated by the Chair within 2 legislative days after 
the resolution is properly noticed.
  Pending that designation, the form of the resolution noticed by the 
gentleman from New Jersey will appear in full in the Record at this 
point.
  The Chair will not, at this point, determine whether the resolution 
constitutes a question of privilege. That determination will be made at 
the time designated for consideration of the resolution.

                          ____________________