Senate Democrats seeking President Trump's tax returns hoped a strongly worded letter might finally do the trick. Didn't work. Seven Democrats on the Finance Committee wrote to GOP Chairman Orrin Hatch on Wednesday, asking that he use his authority to make the returns available to the committee for review, reports Reuters. Hatch responded with a letter of his own, rejecting the idea because it would be "an abuse of the tax-writing committees' statutory authority." Still, the letter is seen as a sign that Democrats will continue to push the matter. House Democrats were to deliver a similar one to Hatch and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady on Thursday, this one signed by 140 lawmakers—with the notable inclusion of Republicans Mark Sanford of South Carolina and Walter Jones of North Carolina.
The chairmen of the tax-writing committees can review and even make public anyone's return if there's reason for concern, reports CNNMoney. Hatch maintains such action should be taken only after specific allegations of misconduct. In the Senate letter, Democrats cited allegations of Trump's ties to the Russian government and asserted that "unprecedented conflicts of interest pose a threat to American national security and the integrity of the government of the United States." During the presidential campaign, Trump bucked tradition and did not release his returns, saying they were under audit. Meanwhile, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham says he wants all presidential candidates to be required by law to release their returns in 2020—including Trump if he runs for re-election, per Politico.