(House of Representatives - May 23, 2017)

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[Page H4484]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                        PRIVILEGES OF THE HOUSE

  Ms. SANCHEZ. 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 release 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 a fair and equal standard of transparency ensuring 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 of reasonable 
information including whether the President paid taxes, ownership 
interests, charitable donations made, and whether tax deductions have 
been exploited;
  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, licensing agreements with 
Russia or Russians;
  Whereas, the President recently fired Federal Bureau of Investigation 
Director James Comey, under whose leadership the FBI was investigating 
whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 
  Whereas, President Trump reportedly stated to Russian officials 
during a White House meeting that he fired Director Comey to ease 
pressure on the ongoing investigation of Russia's influence in the 2016 
  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 
  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, 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 dating back to the Teapot Dome 
  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 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 
  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, Director Comey has testified that tax returns are a common 
tool in investigations because they can show income and motives;
  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, one, 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;
  Two, support transparency in government and the longstanding 
tradition of Presidents and 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 
gentlewoman from California (Ms. Sanchez) will appear 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.
  Ms. SANCHEZ. Mr. Speaker, does the Chair have a designated time for 
the debate on the resolution?
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Speaker will inform the gentlewoman of 
the time.