Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Won’t Say Whether Pelosi Should Be Required to Release Her Tax Returns

By Emily Ward | February 13, 2019 | 12:05pm EST
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
(D-N.Y.)  (Getty Images)

( -- Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) would not say whether she thinks House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) should be legally required to release her tax returns, even though Pelosi and House Democrats want to legally force President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence to release theirs.

On Tuesday, asked Ocasio-Cortez: “In H.R. 1, it would legally require the president and vice president to release their tax returns. Do you think the Speaker of the House should also be required to release his or her tax returns?”

Ocasio-Cortez responded: “You know – you know, I – well, first of all, president and vice president is an elected position by the American people. I generally tend towards more transparency. There is a difference, although, because the speaker’s elections happen after a general election. So that – that time is much shorter, but – but, yeah.”

According to Ocasio-Cortez’ communications director, Corbin Trent, the word “yeah” at the end of Ocasio-Cortez’ statement was not an affirmative answer to the question, but a filler word. then repeatedly called and emailed Ocasio-Cortez’ press office with the question, “H.R. 1 would legally require the president and vice president to release their tax returns. Does Rep. Ocasio-Cortez think House Speaker Pelosi should also be required to release her tax returns? Yes or no?”

This morning, emailed Ocasio-Cortez' communications director, Corbin Trent, presenting the question again, offering Ocasio-Cortez another opportunity to directly answer it, and explaining that we otherwise planned to publish a story saying she would not answer the question. Trent responded, "Sounds good."

H.R. 1, known as the “For the People Act of 2019,” was introduced by Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.) on Jan. 3, the first day of the 116th Congress. The act seeks to increase transparency in government, and would require the sitting U.S. president and vice president, but not members of Congress, to make their tax returns public.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Vice President Mike Pence, President Donald Trump,
and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).   (Getty Images)

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 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.”

Members of Congress, including Pelosi, would not be required to disclose their tax returns under H.R. 1.

The Speaker of the House is third in line to the presidency.

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