WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republicans on Tuesday blocked more attempts by Democrats to obtain President Donald Trump’s tax returns from the IRS.
House Democrats tried for a third and a fourth time to use procedural votes to pry loose Trump’s returns. Republicans blocked both efforts, one on the House floor and the other in the House Ways and Means Committee.
The House voted 228-190 on a mostly party-line vote to block the Democrats’ effort. The Ways and Means Committee voted 24-16 to oppose the effort.
“To my knowledge, in our committee’s entire history, no single individual has ever been targeted in such a manner,” said Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, chairman of the committee. “Civil liberties and privacy are still rights worth protecting, and I intend to protect them.”
Shunning decades of tradition, Trump has steadfastly refused to release his tax returns or to divest from his business. Instead, Trump said he has turned operation of his business over to his sons, while still retaining his stake.
“What is he hiding?” asked Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J.
The Ways and Means Committee has legal authority to obtain confidential tax records. The committee could then vote to make them public.
Democrats tried to make Trump’s taxes an issue during the presidential election, questioning his wealth and whether he donates generously to charity, as he claims. After the election, the head of the Office of Government Ethics scolded Trump for not divesting from his business, saying that’s the only way to avoid conflicts of interest.
Pascrell said Trump’s returns would shed light on any potential conflicts.
Trump’s tax returns would reveal a trove of information about his business dealings and his sources of income. They wouldn’t show his overall net worth. But they would show his annual income and the sources of some of it.