WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) spoke from the floor of the House of Representatives today on the refusal of Congress to demand Donald Trump’s tax returns and its failure to hold the Trump administration accountable. A recording of Mr. Pascrell’s speech is available here.
A transcript of his speech appears below.
“Today is Tax Day, Mr. Speaker, as if you didn’t know that.
“And newly-filed FEC reports show that the President’s campaign paid his businesses $150,000 in the first quarter of this year, including $68,000 to the Trump hotel in Washington, D.C., and $58,000 for rent. Lobbyists in foreign governments continue to spend money at these hotels, and we have no way of verifying what that income looks like or where it’s coming from.
“Candidate Trump said on the campaign trail, ‘My whole life I’ve been greedy, greedy, greedy. I grab all the money I can get. I’m so greedy.’
“Since his election, we’ve witnessed not just his own conflicts of self-enrichment at taxpayers’ expense, but petty graft from members of his Cabinet and his Administration.
“Lavish travel on military jets, and first-class tickets for personal reasons, and expensive office decorations. Lobbyists have been welcomed into agencies to write their own regulations.
“His campaign and White House is filled with the ranks of folks like people who have already pleaded guilty, like Michael Flynn, who sold his connections to Russian and Turkish dictators while working for Mr. Trump. And so many other associates whose connections to foreign governments could be used as leverage, and that is potentially a conflict of interest.
“Bribery and graft might have a place in a crime family, but it has no place in the office of the President or in the Congress of the United States. And this Congress has been absolutely derelict and complicit in the unprecedented conflicts of this presidency.
“Since February of 2017, I have been calling on the chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means to request the President’s tax returns, which he has the authority to do under Section 6103 of the Tax Code.
“I’ve called up resolutions. Eighteen times the committee in this House have voted against seeing the President’s tax returns. Why?
“Why did the President support giving rich people and corporations a giant tax cut?
“Why is he letting Wall Street and Big Oil write their own rules?
“Why are his children still running his company?
“Why has he not divested as he was told to do by the ethics commissioner?
“President Trump seems to have an unhealthy admiration for authoritarian leaders. He seems to have a vision of turning America into an economy and government run by his own greedy and connected circle of oligarchs.
“But subverting our democracy for personal gain – while Congress looks the other way – is poisonous to our republic and our democracy. And it is anathema to our values.
“Today is Tax Day. The 452nd day of Mr. Trump’s presidency. In those 452 days, this Congress has let him off the hook.
“I call on the Chairman of Ways and Means to stop delaying and get Mr. Trump’s tax returns now, like every other President of the last several decades.
“The American people demand it and we owe it to our democracy to shed light on his conflicts.
“Mr. Speaker, thank you for your indulgence. I yield back the balance of my time.”