Democrats on the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee tried again today to force the release of President Donald Trump's tax returns. Again, they failed, and again Washington Congressman Dave Reichert was among the votes against disclosure.
"This issue should not be... partisan," said Alabama Democratic Representative Terri Sewell during the debate leading up to the vote. "We should all care that our president may or may not have conflicts of interest and we should all care to know the truth."
The resolution in question would have directed the Secretary of the Treasury to provide the House with copies of Trump's tax returns from 2006 to 2015 and other financial information. Members voted along party lines on a motion to refer the resolution "unfavorably" to the full House, meaning Democrats who supported it voted "no" and Republicans voted "yes."
Throughout the debate, Republicans argued Democrats are merely on a political points-scoring mission.
"If you were being intellectually honest, you would go to the disclosures," said Arizona Representative David Schweikert, referring to the disclosure form Trump filed with the Federal Election Commission. Republicans claim that form offers the same information the tax returns would reveal. (PolitiFact disagrees.)
Democrats, meanwhile, added a new urgency to their call for the tax returns, saying they could show whether Trump stands to gain financially from the
"Given this president's evasiveness and his conflicts of interest," Washington Democrat Suzan DelBene said during the committee debate, "Congress has a Constitutional responsibility to use its authority to obtain records and to provide rigorous and unbiased oversight."
The Hill reports that along with the Ways and Means vote, the full House voted on a resolution about Trump's tax returns, too. That failed, with two Republicans breaking from their party.
Reichert Watch: Every time Reichert takes a party line vote that hurts his constituents or introduces needless legislation or does anything at all, we'll add it to the list.
• On March 9, he voted for the GOP plan to repeal and replace Obamacare.
• A week later, after a Congressional Budget Office analysis found the plan could leave 24 million people across the country without insurance by 2026, he defended it.
• Before that, Reichert made misleading statements about threats posed by his own constituents.
• Recently, he voted for the SCRUB act, which creates a regulatory committee to identify and eliminate regulations that don’t directly increase the GDP. The committee’s goals align with White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon’s plan to “deconstruct the administrative state," but the irony of commissioning a regulatory agency to cut back on regulations is lost on no one, especially not tax payers who are being charged $30 million for the favor.
• Reichert twice voted against forcing Trump to show Congress his tax returns (once in committee and once in a roll call vote), which may illuminate conflicts of interest and business ties with Russia.
• Reichert was the only Washington Republican who voted to gut the Office of Congressional Ethics.
• In 2014, he proposed a bill that would ban welfare recipients from using benefits to buy weed, despite the fact that such purchases were already illegal.
• In 2010, he voted to maintain “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell."
• That same year, Reichert suffered significant brain trauma when a tree branch fell on his head. The resulting hand-sized blood clot that formed in his brain went untreated for two months.
• In their 2006