(CNSNews.com) - Tax returns “are a key that opens the door to so much information,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told a news conference on Wednesday, as she and her fellow Democrats pressed for a vote on legislation that would require President Trump and all future presidents and presidential nominees to publicly release their tax returns.
“It's not a right to privacy that the President has,” Pelosi said. “He's the president of the United States. There is a question about a Russia connection, politically, personally, financially, to the president; there's concerns about recent actions by the Chinese government in relation to the Trump Organization.
“There are plenty of reasons why we need this key to open the door to the information we need to connect the dots and if they have nothing to fear, then what are they afraid of.”
Democrats believe they’ll find information damaging or embarrassing to the president in his tax returns. They have sought to delegitimize him, at the very least, since he was elected. Some Democrats have even raised the prospect of impeachment.
Appearing with Pelosi at Wednesday’s news conference, Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass), the ranking member of the House Ways and Means Committee, said, “This is not about the law, this is about custom and practice.
“It’s a settled tradition…candidates reach the level of expectation that they’re supposed to release their tax forms.”
(For the record, it is also “custom and practice” to confirm qualified candidates for the Supreme Court, but Democrats in the Senate are now bucking that “settled tradition.”)
Neal said he’s not aware of any other presidents suggesting that it was an invasion of privacy to release their tax returns.
Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) told the news conference he’s convinced that “they’re hiding something.”
Rep. Anna Eschoo (D-Calif.), who introduced the Presidential Tax Transparency Act, invited Republicans to “see the light” and “join us.” Democrats have introduced a discharge petition to force a vote on the bill, but it’s unlikely they’ll get the 218 votes needed to get there.
Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) said she believes lawmakers will hear about Trump’s tax returns from their constituents as they head home for the two-week Easter recess.
“I think they are going to feel the pressure from their own constituents, just as they did on the so-called 'repeal and replace' of Obamacare. And you saw the outcome of that. The American people are fully aware. And I think that in every town hall meeting, in every office visit, the phones are going to be ringing off the hook that the American people are going to be demanding the tax returns.
“And then on Tax Day, I know in my city of Chicago, there will be a demonstration. There are over 20 cities around the country that are going to have big demonstrations. What you saw beginning the day after the Inauguration has not let up. We're talking about intensity. The only question any of us get now is: what can I do?
“And one of the answers is going to be: make sure your Member of Congress is put on the spot about Congresswoman Eshoo's discharge petition. Are you for the President releasing his tax returns or not? We want to know. That's going to be happening every day over the next few weeks.”
Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.) said Democrats are “not going to let up.”
“Americans just want to know that when the President is making important decisions on domestic policy and on foreign policy, that he doesn't have divided loyalties. This is nagging away at people.
“And he can come clean if he provides his tax returns, which is the first important baseline step in being transparent. That will do a lot to put that anxiety to rest. But, the fact that he won't release the tax returns, I think, is making a lot of Americans nervous.”
GOP Protects Trump’s Tax-Return Privacy: ‘No Single Individual Has Ever Been Targeted in Such a Manner’
Rep. Schiff: Trump’s Tax Returns May Be ‘Pertinent to Our Investigation’
Sen. Collins: ‘Too Soon to Tell’ If Intel Committee Will Subpoena Trump’s Tax Returns
Franken Calls for Special Prosecutor: 'Need to See' Trump's Tax Returns
Sen. Al Franken Repeats: 'We Need to See His Tax Returns'