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Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Monday, November 19, 2018

Democratic Congressman Responds To Grewal's Post On Trump's Tax Returns

Yale Notice & CommentHon. Bill Pascrell, Jr (D-NJ 9th District), Scrutinizing Trump’s Taxes is in Congress’s Power, 36 Yale J. on Reg.: Notice & Comment (Nov. 16, 2018):

I read with great interest Andy Grewal’s recent post on plans by House Democrats to compel the release to Congress of Donald Trump’s tax returns [The Battle For Trump’s Taxes And The President’s Potential Revenge] As a Democratic Member of the House of Representatives and the leader of my caucus’s efforts to expose Trump’s financial records to sunlight, I felt it appropriate to respond to Grewal’s piece.

Our focus on Trump’s personal and business tax returns stems from Trump’s refusal to provide a scintilla of transparency on his family’s corporate empire. As the first man to become President not to release any of his tax returns in decades, his rejection of democratic norms is bad enough, made unbearable given the size, scope and opacity of Trump’s companies. Recent investigations detailing widespread tax fraud and other financial crimes by Trump and his family only add to our urgency to scrutinize Trump’s returns. ...

I view the speculative nature of the discussion of the President’s powers of vengeance to be needlessly distracting. Congress is the foremost guardian of the health of our government and the fitness of the executive. Under Section 6103, Congress has the clear power to scrutinize Donald Trump’s tax returns. And based on his history of likely tax fraud and a multitude of reports on conflicts of interests, it would be irresponsible not to use this authority.

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The best way for the Democrats to squander their advantage is to spend all of their time investigating Trump

Posted by: Mike Livingston | Nov 20, 2018 4:14:28 AM

This isn't about political advantage, so Democrats (and Republicans) in Congress should act based on what is important to accountability and the Congress's role in ensuring a fair government through exercise of the checks and balances in the system. It seems fairly obvious that Trump and others in his administration have significant commercial conflicts of interest and that information in the Trump tax returns would be relevant to understanding his handling of business affairs that could well impinge on his ability to conduct the presidency. Although this shouldn't be the only focus of Congress, it is an appropriate focus of Congress.

Posted by: Linda Beale | Nov 20, 2018 3:57:01 PM