WASHINGTON — Beyond trying to get their hands on the Holy Grail of President Donald Trump’s business dealings — his tax returns — House Democrats are prepared to use their new majority and subpoena power to go after financial records that could back up their claims that he’s using his presidency to enrich himself and his family.
After two years of being blocked by the White House and the Trump Organization, Democrats hope the new year brings a new day on such issues as foreign government spending at Trump properties, Trump’s foreign licensing deals, Trump administration ties to lobbyists and special interests, and spending by Trump’s charitable foundation.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, the Maryland Democrat poised to take charge of the House Oversight Committee, said in a statement to The Associated Press that he intends to use the panel as “a check on the executive branch — not merely for potential criminal violations, but for much broader concerns, such as conflicts of interest, emoluments violations and waste, fraud and abuse.”
While Democrats taking over key House committees have not specifically telegraphed their targets, Cummings’ committee would likely seek Trump’s business tax returns and other company-related financial records, according to two Democratic congressional staffers who spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss post-election plans.
Trump’s personal income taxes, which he withheld during the 2016 campaign and in his two years in office, are expected to be the purview of the House Ways and Means Committee.
Trump said in a wide-ranging news conference Wednesday that he doesn’t want to release his taxes because they are under a “continuous audit.” He also said: “They’re extremely complex. People wouldn’t understand them.”