Pelosi’s Chief of Staff: Speaker Will Release Tax Returns ‘If and When She Runs for President’

By Emily Ward | February 22, 2019 | 11:55 AM EST

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
(D-Calif.) (Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) -- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) “will gladly release her tax returns if and when she runs for president,” said her Chief of Staff Drew Hammill, apparently indicating that, in Pelosi’s current position as speaker, she will not release her tax returns.

When CNSNews.com repeatedly followed-up and asked Hammill to directly confirm that Pelosi, as speaker, would not release her tax returns, Hammill did not respond.

Pelosi, who was born on March 26, 1940, will turn 79 next month--and has not announced that she is running for president in 2020.

CNSNews.com has been trying for two weeks by email and telephone to get a direct answer from Speaker Pelosi on this tax-return question because 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.

Specifically, CNSNews.com asked Speaker Pelosi's Press Spokesperson Taylor Griffin and Communications Director Ashley Etienne these questions:

H.R. 1, which Speaker Nancy Pelosi supports, would require the president and vice president to release their current tax return and their tax returns from the last 9 years. It states: “With respect to each taxable year for an individual who is the President or Vice President, not later than the due date for the return of tax for the taxable year, such individual shall submit to the Federal Election Commission a copy of the individual’s income tax returns for the taxable year and for the 9 preceding taxable years.”

Here are my questions:

1. Does Speaker Pelosi support legally requiring the speaker of the House to release his or her tax returns?

2. Will Speaker Pelosi release her tax returns for this year and the previous 9 years? Yes or no?

At a Feb. 13 press briefing, CNSNews.com was able to ask Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) this question: “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 also sent a link to that reply to CNSNews.com. Hammill’s implication appears to be that Pelosi, as the Speaker, will not release her tax returns. CNSNews.com repeatedly followed up by asking Hammill--by email and telephone--to specifically clarify that that was the case. However, Hammill did not respond.

(Twitter.) 

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.”

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

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.

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