UPDATED Call to Action: Trump’s tax returns, why we need them, who is protecting them, and what we can do
UPDATE: News reports are now sharing that the Senate Intelligence Committee may be considering Trump’s ties to Russia and can investigate. Senator Susan Collins (ME), a member of the committee has now stated publicly that she is amenable to using subpoena power to get Trump’s tax returns.
We need to contact our own senators: https://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/.
Then we need to contact each member of the Senate Intelligence Committee. We believe in the instructions of the Indivisible movement whose mantra begins with “contact your own legislators” but beyond that, when a committee like the Senate Intelligence Committee has the power to take measures that others Congress don’t have, they represent ALL OF US.
Take a minute. Make a call. Send a Post Card. Let them know that you know, we all know they have to power to investigate Trump’s Russian ties, and to subpoena his taxes. Remind them they have a responsibility to the entire country as a constituency. Tell them to use their powers to investigate the roll Russia played in our election and what possible roll that country now plays in our government.
Tell them you are one person but you represent your own constituency, your family, your friends your neighbors and others who don’t make calls. Some people find reminding republican senators that we will all help with efforts to support a candidate who runs against them in their next election. For some, this is their biggest fear as they watch town halls around the country.
—– previous (and still pertinent!) information —–
Does Trump have financial ties with Russia? (see more about this below call to action) For that matter, does he have financial ties with China? Does he owe money to banks in these two countries? In other countries? Does he have investments in other countries? Does he have financial ties to Goldman Sachs? (He certainly has hired enough of their past corporate executives.) Does he have investments in any of the backers of the Dakota Access Pipeline? For that matter, does he have investment in his daughter’s clothing line? Does he have any lucrative investments? Is he broke? Did he even pay taxes last year? The year before?
We don’t know. We can only know if we get his tax returns.
We’ve learned via news and television and many organizations, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, the Senate Finance Committee or the Joint Committee on Taxation has the authority to request the president’s tax returns.
Despite phone calls and a petition with 800,000 signatures (see below) on 2/14/2017, the first of these three committees voted down an amendment put forward by member Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) that would allow the committee to get those tax records. The fact that the first attempt failed, doesn’t mean another attempt can’t be made to get the chair of House Ways and means, Representative Kevin Brady from obtaining those returns.
Democrats have promised they will continue to press the issue in any way the rules and laws allow.
Who voted AGAINST this first opportunity to view Trump’s taxes?
This list below, published in the Atlantic, shares names and links to contact information for the Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee who voted against releasing Trump’s tax returns. Have a few minutes? Let them know how you feel. As members of Ways and Means they are gatekeepers for budget and related legislation. In that way, they represent ALL of us. Let them know they’ve made a mistake, and will regret it when we all support their opponents in 2018. Not a lot of time? Focus on the committee members with an asterisks next to their names.
Suggested script/message is simply, “Support any effort to obtain Donald Trump’s tax returns, we deserve to know what financial interests the president has, both nationally and internationally. We also deserve to know if the president owed and paid taxes and how much.” And, again, you might want to remind them they are all up for reelection in 2018 and that you are paying attention to their committee votes.
From an article in the Atlantic titled, “These 23 Republicans Passed on a Chance to Get Trump’s Tax Returns”
The amendment was rejected on a party-line vote by these 23 Republicans (the ones with asterisks next to their names represent relatively competitive districts; the others are thought to be in “safe seats” for the GOP, and only vulnerable in primaries):
- Kevin Brady of Texas (the chair who can get these returns!)
- Sam Johnson of Texas
- Devin Nunes of California
- Pat Tiberi of Ohio
- Dave Reichert of Washington*
- Peter Roskam of Illinois*
- Vern Buchanan of Florida
- Adrian Smith of Nebraska
- Lynn Jenkins of Kansas
- Erik Paulsen of Minnesota*
- Kenny Marchant of Texas
- Diane Black of Tennessee
- Tom Reed of New York
- Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania
- Jim Renacci of Ohio
- Pat Meehan of Pennsylvania*
- Kristi Noem of South Dakota
- George Holding of North Carolina
- Jason Smith of Missouri
- Tom Rice of South Carolina
- David Schweikert of Arizona
- Jackie Walorski of Indiana
- Carlos Curbelo of Florida*
The vote could come back to haunt these legislators if the tax returns eventually come to light and reveal something that American voters feel they should’ve known, especially given the weak rationale offered by Republicans in defense of the vote. Tell them the next time they have an opportunity to support the release of Trump’s taxes, they MUST vote yes.
So how does this relate to RUSSIA? Well:
General Flynn resigned late Monday evening after it was clear he was not going to be able to continue to deny his phone calls to the Russians, specifically the Russian ambassador to the US. As a normal process, the Russian ambassador’s phone calls were monitored by our government, and the content of Flynn’s discussions, framed as reassurances about removing sanctions, are apparently on the record. The fact that Flynn was having these conversations while President Obama’s orders to have Russian diplomats removed, in response to Russia’s interference with our election, has caused consternation in both parties.
Furthermore, we now know that the acting attorney general warned “the Trump White House” that all of this left Flynn vulnerable for blackmail, essentially giving the Russians a puppet in the ear of the president.
But wait. How do we know Trump isn’t a marionette himself? We know there have been accusations that Russia “has a lot” on Trump. But the former spy who developed a dossier on Trump has gone into hiding, and the spy who is rumored to be his source is dead.
Beyond what the Russian spies “have” on Trump, we have no way of knowing if he owes Russian banks or businessmen money, or to flip that, if he is making money on investments in Russia.
Any stories we hear about Trump and other countries are incomplete. We don’t know where his business arm reaches. We don’t know whose pockets he is in this country or abroad.
We can’t know – without seeing his tax returns.