Pelosi Refuses to Release Tax Returns, Demands Trump Makes His Public
Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi dodges questions about her personal finances
Nancy Pelosi and a growing number of Democrats are piling on the pressure for President Donald Trump to make his taxes public, yet the Democratic House speaker refuses to release her own and continues to dodge questions about her personal finances.
Speaker Pelosi (D-CA) last month vowed that the Dems will do everything in their power to pursue President Trump's taxes.
Pelosi claims that Americans "overwhelmingly" support Congress reviewing the returns.
When asked during a press conference about the importance of obtaining Trump's taxes, Pelosi said that voters support an investigation into the president's finances.
"I think overwhelmingly the public wants to see the president's tax returns," Pelosi told reporters.
"They want to know the truth.
"They want to know the facts. And he has nothing to hide."
Pelosi said Democrats must be "careful" in pursuing the president's taxes, highlighting that some Democratic lawmakers are pushing to take immediate action to obtain them.
"We have to be very, very careful as we go forward," Pelosi said, addressing complaints that the new House majority is moving too slowly.
"In terms of the tax returns, it's not an issue of just sending a letter.
"You have to do it in a very careful way."
Just last week, during Michael Cohen's explosive anti-Trump congressional testimony, Democrats, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), hijacked the hearing to grill the president's former lawyer on his ex-boss's financial declarations.
According to Fox News, while questioning Cohen last Wednesday, Ocasio-Cortez asked President Trump's onetime personal attorney if Trump had intentionally devalued his real estate assets to reduce his tax bills, to which Cohen responded, "Yes."
Ocasio-Cortez, a member of the House Oversight Committee, sought to lay the groundwork for lawmakers to potentially subpoena employees of the Trump Organization -- including its chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg.
Cohen said during his testimony that Weisselberg was privy to Trump's various money maneuvers and who received immunity from federal prosecutors in New York to testify against Cohen prior to the attorney's guilty plea on federal campaign finance violations last August.
"And would it help for the committee to obtain federal and state tax returns from the president and his company to address that discrepancy?" Ocasio-Cortez asked.
"I believe so," Cohen answered.
WATCH: Complete exchange between @RepAOC @AOC and Michael Cohen. pic.twitter.com/dBpwzeEYRY— CSPAN (@cspan) February 27, 2019
The freshman congresswoman cited an unverified August 2016 Washington Post report.
That report claimed Trump had argued that his golf course in Jupiter, Florida, was worth "no more than $5 million" for tax purposes despite informally valuing the property at more than $50 million.
When asked if the report was true, Cohen said that Trump had used an "identical" tactic at his golf club in suburban Westchester County, New York.
In response to questioning from another lawmaker, Cohen said that he had seen Trump's tax returns, but has not gone through them.
Trump didn't release his income tax filings during his 2016 campaign due to an ongoing audit of his finances, but Cohen said he never received any documentation to support Trump's claim.
Trump himself blasted reported plans by Democrats to seek his tax returns, warning in his State of the Union speech last month that “ridiculous partisan investigations" would cripple the country.
“If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation," Trump said during his annual address to Congress.
"It just doesn’t work that way!”
Since making the calls to go after Trump, Pelosi has ended up coming under mounting pressure to make her own tax returns public.
When these questions are asked, it draws attention Nancy and Paul Pelosi's extensive wealth, yet questions as to how the couple has amounted the vast fortune required to live such a lavish lifestyle are never adequately answered.
According to the House Press Gallery, House speakers earn an annual salary of $223,500, which amounts to a roughly $30,000 raise for Pelosi, who is now again the third-highest-paid elected official in the U.S. federal government (after the president and vice president).
Of course, this is a substantial salary by any means, but it doesn't come anywhere near to accounting for Nancy Pelosi's huge net worth.
According to Time, estimates of Pelosi’s net worth vary.
Roll Call’s most recent Wealth of Congress analysis says she’s worth at least $16 million, but OpenSecrets puts her around $100 million.
She has refused to talk about it.
Nancy Pelosi “will gladly release her tax returns if and when she runs for president,” her Chief of Staff Drew Hammill recently stated, apparently indicating that, in Pelosi’s current position as speaker, she will not release her tax returns.
When repeatedly asked followed-up questions about whether Pelosi, as speaker, would release her tax returns, Hammill did not respond.
Pelosi, who turns 79 this month has not announced that she is running for president in 2020.
Speaker Pelosi has continually dodged questions about releasing her own taxes since she has co-sponsored legislation (H.R. 1) that would require the president and vice president to release their tax returns.
Under 3 U.S. Code 19 (enacted under Article II, Section 1, Clause 6 of the Constitution), the Speaker of the House is third in line to the presidency.
During a press conference last month, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) was asked:
“H.R. 1 would legally require the president and vice president to release their tax returns. Should House Speaker Pelosi be required to release her tax returns? Yes or no?”
Jeffries said: “Well, that’s a question that I think you should direct to Speaker Pelosi.”
That same day, Politico posted the exchange in a tweet and Hammill replied to Politico, tweeting, “The Speaker will gladly release her tax returns if and when she runs for president.”
Hammill’s implication appears to be that Pelosi, as the Speaker, will not release her tax returns.
The Speaker will gladly release her tax returns if and when she runs for president. https://t.co/1oN8Drl2HC— Drew Hammill (@Drew_Hammill) February 13, 2019
H.R. 1, which is co-sponsored by Pelosi, would force President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, but not members of Congress, to make their tax returns public.
Known as the “For the People Act of 2019,” it was introduced by Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.) on Jan. 3, the first day of the 116th Congress.
The act aims to “expand Americans’ access to the ballot box,” “reduce the influence of big money in politics” and “strengthen ethics rules for public servants.”
Section 10001 of the act, entitled Presidential and Vice Presidential Tax Transparency, states that the sitting president and vice president must submit copies of their income tax returns “for the taxable year and for the 9 preceding taxable years” to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), and that the FEC must make the returns “publicly available.”
In addition, the act would require presidential and vice presidential candidates from a “major party” to submit copies of their income tax returns for the “10 most recent taxable years.”
The Speaker of the House, who presides over a body responsible for all legislation enacted by the federal government, would not be required to disclose his or her tax returns under H.R. 1.
Pelosi has repeatedly voiced her support for H.R. 1. For example, she and Rep. Jim McGovern (D.-Mass.), who is also a co-sponsor of the bill, co-authored a Jan. 3 op-ed for USA Today.
In it, they wrote: “Transparency, ethics, and unity will be the guiding light of the Democratic Congress.”
“HR 1 will allow us to clean up Congress to give confidence to the American people that we can and will deliver results for the people,” they added.
Should Nancy Pelosi lead by her own example and give "confidence to the American people" by revealing exactly how she earned her staggering fortune?