Despite calls from Democrats to review President Trump’s tax returns and make them public, a congressional tax oversight committee will reportedly not pursue the documents for review.
Trump’s tax returns could show conflicts of interest that would otherwise go undetected, opponents say. The Republican head of the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee said it is improtant to protect privacy.
“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?” Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, told Reuters. “Privacy and civil liberties are still important rights in this country, and (the) Ways and Means Committee is not going to start to weaken them.”
Last month, Kellyanne Conway, top adviser to Trump, said he will not release his tax returns, appearing to shut the door on a decades-long tradition of transparency.
Every president since 1976 has released their returns. During the campaign, Trump refused to make his filings public, saying they were under audit by the Internal Revenue Service and saying he'd release them after that review is complete.
Conway was asked about a petition on the White House website signed by more than 200,000 people calling for Trump to release his returns.
"The White House response is that he's not going to release his tax returns," she said in an interview. "We litigated this all through the election. People didn't care."
Rep. Bill Pascrell, a Democrat on the Ways and Means Committee said he continues to hope for action on the returns.
"Our committee must respond by using its legal authority as Congress has in the past to provide proper oversight. This is Checks and Balances 101," he told Reuters.
"There is only one logical explanation for Mr. Trump's refusal to release his returns: there is a bombshell in them," he continued. "Given Mr. Trump's equanimity with other flaws in his history, we can only assume it's a bombshell of unusual size."
However, polls appear to show a majority of Americans want Trump to release the returns. A Fox News Poll revealed in September that 60 percent of Americans believed Trump was hiding something in his tax returns.
Trump has maintained that you learn very little from tax returns.