House Democrats Unveil Bill To Require Release Of Donald Trump’s Tax Returns, Monitor White House
On Friday, House Democrats revealed a massive ethics reform bill designed to force President Donald Trump to release his tax returns and to put checks on the White House.
The move came just one day after Democrats officially retook the majority in the House. Their sweeping legislation includes several modifications to ethics and campaign finance laws. The Republican-controlled Senate is unlikely to even consider the new bill package.
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D–Maryland), the incoming House Oversight Committee chairman, said Friday he would be increasing his checks on the president over the next few weeks.
“The midterm elections were monumental and indeed historic. The American people gave Congress a mandate: to finally start conducting credible oversight and start enacting reforms. Over the last two years, President Trump set the tone from the top in his administration that behaving ethically and complying with the law is optional,” Cummings said, per POLITICO. “We’re better than that.”
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I hope we can exercise the powers of the Oversight Committee in a bipartisan way to do what we all swore to do less than 24 hours ago—fulfill our duty to uphold the Constitution and serve as a truly independent check on the Executive Branch.
— Elijah E. Cummings (@RepCummings) January 4, 2019
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The newly introduced legislation reportedly requires that Trump and Vice President Mike Pence release ten years of their tax returns. It also makes changes to ethics rules for White House staffers and provides greater enforcement authority to the Office of Government Ethics. Lawmakers could potentially subpoena Trump for his tax returns if he continues refusing to release them.
As they promised late last year after taking back control of the House in the midterm elections, Democrats’ new bill also establishes new rules regarding voting rights, election regulations, lobbying and campaign finance. Specifically, the legislation allows more public financing for elections. One stipulation dictates that super PACs and other groups that spend over $10,000 in any election disclose their list of donors within one day. Many lawmakers, like Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke — who lost his Senate bid in Texas last year — have emphasized how corporate money has damaged the state of U.S. politics.
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