Rep. Paulsen joins fellow Republicans, voting to block request for Trump tax returns

The amendment was voted down, strictly along party lines.

A U.S. House committee voted down a proposal to request 10 years' worth of President Donald Trump's tax returns, with the lone Minnesota congressman on the committee voting with the majority.

The amendment was taken up by the House Ways and Means Committee Tuesday. Here's the text of the amendment, which was introduced by Democrat Rep. Lloyd Doggett of Texas.

It would have required the committee's chairman to submit a request to the Secretary of Treasury, asking for Trump's tax returns from the past 10 years. They'd then get to be reviewed by committee members and staff for potential violations or conflicts.

A request like this is apparently within the law, according to Rep. Bill Pascrell from New Jersey.

Pascrell said there's a 1924 law that allows Congressional committees that work on tax policy to obtain tax returns from the Treasury, USA Today reported. Congressmen used it in 1974 to examine President Richard Nixon's returns, and also in 2014 during a review of the IRS and its handling of tax returns from nonprofits, according to the news outlet.

The vote

The Ways and Means Committee voted down the amendment 23-15 – all the Republicans present voted against it, all the Democrats present voted for it.

Among the "nay" votes was Rep. Erik Paulsen.

Paulsen represents Minnesota's 3rd Congressional District (which wraps around the western side of Minneapolis), a seat he's held since taking office in 2009.

GoMN has reached out to Paulsen's office for comment.

Rep. Kevin Brady, from Texas, said on Monday he would not vote for the amendment because it could weaken taxpayers' rights, The Hill reported.

"If Congress begins to use its powers to rummage around in the tax returns of the president, what prevents Congress from doing the same to average Americans?" he said, according to Reuters.

The public perception

Trump became the first major presidential nominee since 1976 to not release at least one year of tax returns, saying he said he was being audited. Questions about his financial ties have persisted.

A couple January polls have asked the public about this:

  • In an ABC/Post poll, 74 percent of people said Trump "should release his tax returns." Among Trump supporters that number came in at 49 percent.
  • A Morning Consult/Politico poll meanwhile found 45 percent of respondents said they "care" that Trump hasn't released his tax returns, while 44 percent said they do not care. Democrats (71 percent) were far more likely to care than Republicans (20 percent).

A petition created Jan. 20 on the official White House petitions page, which asks for the president's full tax returns to be released, has more than 848,000 signatures. The site promises that any petitions that get 100,000 signatures in 30 days will get reviewed by policy experts, and an official statement will be released.

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