May 23, 2017 - Issue: Vol. 163, No. 89 — Daily Edition115th Congress (2017 - 2018) - 1st Session
NOTICE OF INTENTION TO OFFER RESOLUTION RAISING A QUESTION OF THE PRIVILEGES OF THE HOUSE; Congressional Record Vol. 163, No. 89
(House of Representatives - May 23, 2017)
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[Page H4484] 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 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 election; 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 election; 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, 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 scandal; 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 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, 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. ____________________