Goose Meets Gander: Why Congress Should Include Its Own Tax and Travel Records In The Push For Disclosure

Below is my column in the Hill newspaper on the congressional push for past tax filings of President Donald Trump as well as investigations in the travel of Administration figures. I do not disagree with such public scrutiny, but Congress has conspicuously ignored past calls for the same transparency of its own practices and records.

Here is the column:

Congress has hit a new high in popularity with a 26 percent approval rating. That is right, the legislative branch finally gained the approval of one out of four citizens, a level that has not seen in years. Part of the alienation of the other three out of four Americans is that many believe Congress is incapable of doing the right thing, only the political thing.

But that is unfair. History shows Congress occasionally does the right thing, if it has no alternative. With controversies ranging from demanding the tax returns of President Trump to limiting the publicly funded travel of his administration officials, Congress could find itself dangerously close to doing the right thing, if the public leaves it with no other alternative.

Taxes

The House Ways and Means Committee this week demanded the personal and corporate tax records of Trump. By refusing to release his records, Trump broke with decades of tradition in which presidents since Richard Nixon have recognized the legitimate public interest in seeing their taxes. However, lawmakers demanded six years worth of records while only vaguely stating a legislative purpose for its demand. If Congress wants to require all presidents to turn over their taxes, it can simply do so. It is, presumably, the absence of public disclosure, rather than the content, of the tax records of Trump that is the basis for the proposed legislation.

Federal law clearly favors Congress on such a demand, even though there are strong protections over the confidentiality of tax filings. Under the Tax Code, the Treasury secretary “shall furnish” such returns when demanded by certain committees. Yet, those committees may exercise that power only when they show a legitimate legislative purpose. Last year, the District of Columbia Circuit Court took pains to stress that exceptions to the rule of confidentiality are narrowly drawn and that the protections “extend to the ordinary taxpayer and the president alike.”

In Hallet Kilbourn versus John Thompson, the Supreme Court in 1881 held that Congress cannot demand private records without a legitimate purpose. More than 75 years later, the Supreme Court ruled again in John Watkins versus United States that Congress cannot use such powers for fishing expeditions and must have a clearly articulated purpose. The Supreme Court in Watkins drew this line to protect against the abuses of the House Un-American Activities Committee, warning that “there is no congressional power to expose for the sake of exposure.” It does not improve things to vaguely declare you are looking for un-presidential activities if you cannot articulate a “legitimate task of Congress.”

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal did not seek the tax records of Trump to investigate a specific criminal allegation falling under the jurisdiction of his panel. Instead, he described an effort to ensure the “accountability of our government and elected officials. To maintain trust in our democracy, the American people must be assured that their government is operating properly, as laws intend.” That sounds a lot more like a political pursuit rather than a legislative purpose. Moreover, the tax records issue could be tied up in the federal courts for months.

So here is an idea. Why not shove Congress over the public interest line and force it to disclose tax and investment information on all members, as well as presidents? House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has steadfastly refused to turn over her own tax records despite cosponsoring a bill to require presidents to do so. Her deputy chief of staff, Drew Hammill, virtually mocked the suggestion by saying Pelosi “will gladly release her tax returns if and when she runs for president.” The problem is that Pelosi has great ability to advance her own financial interests in her position and is just two succession slots away from becoming the president during a crisis.

For years, I have argued for lawmakers to disclose their investments or, better yet, put their investments into “blind” funds. Currently, members of Congress can invest and legislate in the same areas, enabling them to make windfall profits as a result of inside information tied to upcoming legislation. It is time for the goose to meet the gander. We must require transparency from both political branches we elect to serve the nation.

Travel

Congress is investigating the publicly funded travel of administration officials from Cabinet members to Ivanka Trump. Congress rightly investigated former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt over his penchant for first class tickets and charter flights. This again puts Congress on the edge of doing the right thing.

For decades, I have called for the end of junkets allowing members of Congress to take thinly disguised vacations at public expense by holding a couple meetings on some perfunctory legislative subject. I also have called for a ban on travel paid by third parties, which is little more than legalized influence peddling. While lawmakers insist that flying to the Caribbean is key to planning legislation, it is abundantly clear that such information can be conveyed through material sent to their offices.

Lawmakers have refused, however, to give up being whisked around the world with an army of handlers and aides. The public pays millions of dollars for members of both parties to go on junkets, with the cost hidden in various budgets. Over two years, Pelosi spent more than $2 million on such trips. Her trips in 2015 cost the Air Force more than $184,500. She and nine other members of Congress were given tours of the Vatican and reported had meals costing up to $190 each. Of course, it was necessary to have family members along for the “education” to be complete.

In January, as federal employees went unpaid for weeks during the government shutdown, some 30 Democratic lawmakers took a chartered flight to sunny Puerto Rico with more than 100 lobbyists and corporate executives. On the itinerary was the educationally important stop to see the hit Broadway show “Hamilton” and attend a party with the cast.

The same is true of sponsored trips. Last December, Gregory MeeksBarbara LeeBobby RushTerri Sewell, and Hank Johnson used $60,000 from an outside group to fly to South Africa and attend a concert with Beyonce, Jay Z, Ed Sheeran, Pharrell Williams, and Chris Martin. These kinds of trips are a bipartisan scam by members of Congress emboldened by the silence of voters. We should send a clear message that they need to pay for their own tickets to faraway concerts or simply buy the album.

Of course, members of Congress have alternatives to legislating in the public interest as opposed to their own. Blinded by rage, most voters do not see, or want to see, the glaring contradictions in these proposals to pick apart the actions of the Trump administration while ignoring those of Congress. Rage rather than reason is the touchstone of our times. So unfortunately for citizens, lawmakers can no doubt rest easy that they are still short of that “no option” position of having to do the right thing.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanTurley.

346 thoughts on “Goose Meets Gander: Why Congress Should Include Its Own Tax and Travel Records In The Push For Disclosure”

  1. The House actually lacks Constitutional authority to DEMAND Presidential tax documents. The Senate alone can make such demands.

    That leaves the House dependent on any good will it may have earned from Mr. Trump.

    He’s well within his moral rights to damn their eyes and treat the House’s demands with the contempt they deserve – until, as Prof. Turley suggests, they set an example for him to follow. Just the tale of Nancy Pelosi’s puts and buys on the stock market compared to information only she and her staff had would be entertaining.

  2. This just in from the Ministry of If You Say or Do Anything That is Contrary to Our Agenda We Will Do Our Level Best to Destroy Your Life and Career:

    “Kirstjen Nielsen’s Job Prospects Are Probably Pretty Slim”

    https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2019/04/kirstjen-nielsens-post-trump-job-could-be-hard-get/586789/

    So yes, it takes courage for Professor Turley to express a principled opinion in his blog postings. Definitely reflected in the unprecedented amount vitriol expressed in the comments to this posting.

  3. I already did that for Anon. I will occasionally repeat comments for people.
    I’m not inclined to repeat what I’ve already said to a lying slimeball like anonymous Anon.
    There is no end to that “tell me why” game when the answer has already been provided.
    This is just another version of his ‘”20 questions” game…..literally, 20 questions by his own count…that he was playing earlier.

  4. Bill Martin,
    Certain “lefty-loon” chronic liars here had better pace themselves as they have a busy c. year and a half schedule ahead.
    I’m confident that they won’t run out of a lies to tell between now and Election Day, but the sheer volume of lied that they spout might tucker them out might probe exhausting to them.
    They need to be aware that they might burn themselves out too early and be unable to save enough reserve for those last laps in the fall of 2020.
    I just posted another comment on this thread about “the Sen. Reid” syndrome and the ease and appeal of lying for some.

    1. This guy is really unhinged. If anybody knows him personally, maybe they should check in on him? Again we get the “liar” and “cloak of anonymity” chants, as if any facts he doesn’t like or opinions he disagrees with must be lies and everyone here including him are not anonymous, excepting of course those snakes he hates with a glowing red hot passion . WTF?

      Get the coats.

      1. That’s the chance Anon amd others take when they are anonymous liars.
        I can see why he feel it’s “unhinged’ when he’s called on it; anonymous liars have a mostly free ride here on this blog.
        “Mostly” free…..they don’t have total immunity from being called liars when they are caught lying.
        One must be “unhinged’ to point out that Anon and a few others here have no qualms about lying, or that they exploit anonymity to do so.

        1. Maybe you can be specific in your allegations of lying, and hopefully hold all posters to whatever standard of conforming to your beliefs you require.

          Or take a cold shower.

          1. On more than one occasion I copied what Anon said next to statements he paraphrased. With direct comparison one could see that Anon lied or made a mistake. One doubts it to be a mistake because this type of thing happened so many times and Anon never bothered to correct his mistake. Therefore one has to conclude he prevaricates, cannot be trusted and should be left alone to wither on the vine.

            His first known life was as Jan F. who had a flaming entry and a flaming exit…”goodbye”.

            In this life he has become increasingly more shrill and distasteful.

            Anon continues with the same question: “If Trump is the victim of the Deep State, how and why did they manage to sabotage their leaders campaign 2 weeks before the election while protecting Trump’s from an almost identical set of revelations?” This question has been answered many times by me and I think by others as well. Trump has been hammered for over 2 years by the a weaponized FBI and DOJ starting in the Obama administration. Once elected certain members still working for the government continued to try to have him removed or at least shackled. One can only guess at the reasons. We know from written correspondence that many disliked or hated Trump. We also saw that in television interviews. Was that hate enough for them to continue after the election to go after the President? Alternatively it appears a lot of bad things were done starting in the prior administration. Was a lot of this action a cover up for prior acts that were bad and could potentially lead to criminal charges against some people?

            A lot of questions need to be sorted out but there is no doubt that a few in the intelligence community were weaponized to destroy or limit the actions of trump for about 2.5 years.

            Anon’s comparison of 2.5 years and one comment 2 weeks before the election shows that Hillary involved in many questionable things was spared embarrassment by these same people that were trying to destroy Trump. Anon is ridiculous.

            The question remains why was that information released by Comey at that time? No one can be sure of the answer, but it might become clear later on. The best guess I have heard was that Comey and perhaps some others realized that eventually they may be called to explain why they went after Trump and left Hillary alone. Perhaps they were trying to produce the idea they were non partisan and save themselves or others that could lead to them.. A lot of bad information was seeping out. The Clinton investigation, the foundation investigation etc. were not done with the normal efficiency of getting to the truth. The attorney for the FBI had in a similar time frame advanced his conclusion that criminal referral was on the table. Comey’s initial statement used a word that would be related to such criminal referral but was apparently convinced by another to soften the term. Thus we had this very weak statement of Comey’s that wrecked Anon’s life and made him into the shrill distatsteful person we know him as.

            1. Whatever.

              If Trump is the victim of the Deep State, how and why did they manage to sabotage their leaders campaign 2 weeks before the election while protecting Trump’s from an almost identical set of revelations?

              1. Anon, I told you a potential reason (actually 2 reasons) for the statement Comey made and I explained that Trump was not spared direct attacks for 2.5 years. You are perhaps too stupid to read what was written. There is no need to discuss these things with one that can only repeat what he has said over and over again.

        2. It would be a good idea if Anon and a few others use, or are assigned, a different avatar.
          🤥 This would work well🤥. There is a difference between having an actual debate about issues/ policy/ candidates etc., and contending with a serial liar.
          I won’t waste time trying to explain that to people like our anonymous Anon liar.

            1. I explained that, and explained why I don’t repeat explanations to a lying sack of **** like Anon.
              It is pointless.

              1. Well that’s a lie. If you had anything to successfully challenge you’d make whatever point you advanced. That is the point of the discussion for most of us here, though you obviously prefer gossiping about other posters.

                1. Their are a very limited number of those who comment here that I will call out for their lying.
                  It takes a special person to qualify as the target of my “griping”.
                  Having established himself as a liar, Anon is “special”.
                  He’s in that category of compulsive liars that I will “gripe’ about.
                  The “free ride” comment I made was about the near- unlimited opportunity for an anonymous liar like Anon to play his games.
                  Most aren’t slimey enough to exploit their anonymity to do this, but Anon is “special”.

                  1. It’s becoming obvious that the “special person” type you will call a liar without offering proof is someone who trashes your arguments and kicks your a… Poor you.

                2. I did, in fact, challenge Anon on one specific lie he doubled down on earlier in this thread.
                  But a common game for people like him is to lie about that as well.
                  I’m not going to bother correcting the labeling of my posts from anonymous…the lack of a log-in box to provide name and email info makes it impossible to label some comments correctly, do they’re posted as “anonymous”.
                  When it’s obvious who it’s from, I’m less and less inclined to correct it every time.

                  1. When “Tom” replied to one of my posts I responded on point to what I considered relevant information. First he called me a parrot and now I’m a liar, one imagines because I did not accept his argument and therefore……. Gee, that never happens here with any other posters, who typically and generously surrender to their opposites argument!

                    Obviously “Tom” knows his argument is weak and better than rolling it out again – he can be sure I’ll respond again, it’s too easy – he prefers personally attacking another poster, the activity he already spends most of his time on here.

                    1. It’s not that difficult to spot a chronic liar and BSer. As their activity ratchets up, I will occasionally make note of the fact that they’re lying, and back up that claim.
                      That’s what I’ve done in anonatroll’s case. There’s only a limited amount of time I’m willing to spent on anonymous internet trash like “Anon”.
                      So if Anon wants to mask his lying and double-down on his lying, he can continue insisting that his lies are the truth, or that up is down, or whatever addition BS he decides to go with

                    2. Tom has no problem spending post after post calling me a liar without offering any proof, but claims he’s just too busy to discuss issues. He mostly never discusses issues, preferring running down other posters obsessively.

                      Obviously he’s a liar and a coward who doesn’t want to get his a.. kicked again. If he wants to, he knows what to do.

                    3. Oh For Crying Out Loud Gnash. The key feature of The New York Times investigation of the Trump family’s “tax avoidance scheme” was that the statute of limitations had long since run out on the “outright fraud” that the Trump family had committed. When Anon said that [paraphrase] the Trump family had been illegally avoiding taxes for 50 years, Anon was posting the plain unvarnished truth. And that is the exact opposite of lying. And you know it. And you just don’t care about knowingly leveling false accusations against Anon. Guess what that makes you, Gnash?

                    4. That’s what it was? Who knows with this twit. Obviously his supposed high standards for truth don’t apply to him or posters he agrees with or his hair would be more on fire than it already is.

                      I’m done talking about this clown. He spends all his time discussing board personalities, something I have next to zero interest in.

          1. It was pretty obvious that I was referring to the opportunity for a liar like Anon to lie with virtually impunity on a wide-open internet site.
            With impunity and with anonymity; the impunity and anonymity go hand-in-hand.

            1. Yeah, and anyone with a brain, balls, and a command of the issues can challenge me.

              That’s not you “Tom”.

              1. There is a familiar pattern here that a few of the prominent liars here use:
                1.– Post the lie
                2. – Deny that they’ve lied when they are directly and specically challenged for posing the lie.
                3. Pretend that they never even posted the lle, and the subsequent objection(s) to that lie never happened.
                There is a record kept of these comments that often shows this multi-step game being played by Anon and a few others.
                They gave that game down pat, and will play it endlessly.
                As I mentioned, there is a written record of the earlier comments made in this thread, and all others.
                And those comments speak for themselves, in spite of the “memory lapses” on the part of a liar like Anon.
                I gave the reasons that he was not entitled to an endless rehashing of previous comments he now “fails to” remember.
                As much as I enjoy having to repeat myself for the benefit of a “forgetful” liar, that inevitably leads in to a morass of even more deflections, obfuscations, and lies that take a good deal of time to untangle.
                All of these stunts are part of the same game, displayed on this site over and over again by the same few people.
                One difference with Anon is that he almost immediately started playing the game here.
                Usually, there’s a period of head-fakes designed to give the impression that the person is actually trying to have a dialogue.
                The stunts I mentioned are as common as dirt across open sites on the internet .
                As are the people who pull those stunts.

              2. I have enormous respect for liars like Anon who have the balls to lie, deny the lies, and the courage🤭 to (anonymously) stand behind their convictions and their accusations.

          2. I have presented the proof. I won’t waste time on you presenting it again and again, and I’ve explained why that is as well.
            Maybe it’d simplify things if I put this in language that “Anon” prefers, and may even understand:
            Anon is freaking nuts and beyond help.

          3. L4D,
            It makes me accurate. You and Anon are two peas in a pod, freaking nuts and beyond help. Continue with your daily columns, L4B.

  5. http://time.com/3765158/harry-reid-mitt-romney-no-taxes/
    Re Kevin Beck’s comment about the Harry Reid lie that Romney had bad no taxes for years.
    Reid was asked if he had regrets about lying, and Reid said “Romney didn’t win, did he?”
    I don’t think Reid’s lie was the reason Romney lost, but Reid was proud that his lie might have at least damaged Romney’s campaign.
    There is a “just make the accusation whether it’s true or not” mentality that liars like Reid display.
    Here on this site, the false statement that no American financial institution will lend to Trump has been made many times be before it was just repeated again today.
    The lie that Trump and his father illegally avoided taxes for 50 years is new, at least that specific version.
    As long as anoymous liars feel justified in serial lying, why not just claim that the Trump’s illegally avoided taxes for 100 years.
    Or that Trump can only survive financially with the rubles Putin sends him.
    As long as there are those who like to peddle lies, we’ll be hearing those lies and others for at least another c. 18 months.
    Maybe Harry Reid already has a WordPress subscription to this blog and is at again.
    I had a discussion once with one of this site’s more prolific liars about the importance of things like facts and accuracy.
    It was clear from her response that she did not place much importance on facts and accuracy and she continued lying freely and openly (well, “anonymously openly”).
    The advantage a serial liar has is that maybe someone is stupid enough to believe their lies, and they’ll score some points.
    The disadvantage is that they may occasionally be called out as lying sacks of ****, but then, there’s that cloak of anonymity they can hide behind.
    ( I can’t locate Kevin Beck’s comment in this thread of c. 300 comments, so I’m placing it here to expand on what he wrote)

    1. Have many times will the idiotic statement about the “specific instances” be repeated?
      20 seems to be a preferred number for Anon.
      Once I’ve already provided the specific instances, I’m not likely to repeatedly cite those instances in a game of 20 questions the liar wants to play.

      1. How many times are you going to complain without offering anything to back it up? Yeah, I know, you prefer gossipping about other posters to issues.

        By the way, it was one question none of you Trumpsters can answer:

        If Trump is the victim of the Deep State, how and why did they manage to sabotage their leaders campaign 2 weeks before the election while protecting Trump’s from an almost identical set of revelations?

        You can’t answer it. Yeah, I know you tried. I won’t say you were lying, but It was weak.

        1. Anon does not appear to be stupid or illiterate, although that can not be positively established one way or the other.
          In the event that stupidity and/ or illiteracy is the source of his problem, his best bet would be to have someone read and explain to him previous comments he keeps asking about.
          That can be fairly time-consuming, and I’ve already explained why I won’t do that for Anon and a few others who have developed temporary amnesia about topics already covered.

        2. If Anon likes, he can post that same question another 20+ times.
          Anyone considering answering it should be aware of this going in; all possible answers will be rejected as “weak”, save for those that exactly mirror anon’s views.
          He will entertain those kinds of “strong” answers. His objectivity 😉and intellectual honesty😄 will be displayed another 20 times in his “responses”.
          I give credit for that kind of consistency.😆

          1. DEEP STATE HAPPENS TO NOVICE POLITICIANS.

            It happens to politicians indifferent to government. Everyone is government is naturally turned off. So their resistance can be interpreted as a ‘conspiracy’.

            It happens in corporate America. An outsider comes in to ‘shake things up’. But as an outsider, he doesn’t know the culture. So everyone has an interest in sabotaging him. He’s not one of their’s and doesn’t understand how the culture works.

            Therefore new presidents are encouraged to have extensive experience in the field of government. They want to know government better than career bureaucrats. If the bureaucrats know more, there will be a Deep State.

            No one has an obligation to let indifferent outsiders destroy institutions.

            1. It happens to politicians indifferent to government. Everyone is government is naturally turned off. So their resistance can be interpreted as a ‘conspiracy’.

              Yes, it’s ‘perfectly natural’ to make use of Democratic Party oppo research to give a judge cover to hand you a permission slip to spy on the political opposition.

  6. I clicked on Jon Turley site this morning for kicks and giggles to see what lefty loons are flailing about today. Not sure if Jon Turley site malfunctioned – under Recent Comments on dashboard 10 of 10 comments belong to Late4Yoga. Is Late4Yoga talking to herself again? Is this a case study for Trump Derangement Syndrome? Havard Business School needs to put together a case study on lefty media business model designed to feed/grow this phenomenon in support of advertising dollars and at the expense of fair reporting and critical thinking. Lefty media are like crack dealers for afflicted lefty loons like Late4Yoga et. al.

    1. Stop driving by the recent comments queue. Start reading the blawg, instead. The offending posts at issue are strewn along the thread like tiny beads interspersed amongst the comments of a great many garblers hog-tying their typing fingers in arthritic knots.

      1. Oh the comments are “strewn”, and that is your way of explaining your 10 of 10 Recent Comments domination earlier this morning. If Late4Yoga dominates with 10 of 10 Recent Comments at a time, do any get read? Do they exist? If a tree falls in the forest and nobody hears it, does it indeed make a noise?

        1. Including this current post there will be 24 L4D comments out of a total of 187 comments currently on this thread at roughly 7:55 AM. That works out to roughly 13 percent of the comments on this thread. Now you go figure out your own posting percentage for this thread. It will be good practice for your use of the scroll buttons. If you’d like, we could turn it into a race to see who can tally and calculate Simple Caveman’s posting percentage faster.

          1. I count 18 Bill Martin comments currently on this thread. There hasn’t been a new one since there were 186 total comments on this thread. So Simple Caveman’s posting percentage was 10 percent of the thread at 7:50 AM this morning, Tuesday April, 9th, 2019.

            1. Well at least I’ve got you paying more attention to your voluminous posting stats. Why don’t you run some stats over a week or month period and see how we compare. Also maybe do a word count per comment and see how we stack up. Today is a closing day, so we shall meet again some day in the future my fair lady when another subject catches my attention. Until then keep cutting and pasting voluminous articles and talking in circles till your heart desires. Good Day Ma’am.

              1. Awww….he called you ‘my fair lady’ L4D…I get the feeling he enjoys ‘dancing with you’ on this here blog 🙂

              2. Bill Martin,
                The “numbers game’ is one of L4B’s most recent compulsions. And it’s understandable, given that she can hardly get a word in edgewise.🤭
                Just for fun, you and/or others can review how many times L4D’s name pops up in “the most frequent commentators” list that’s periodically presented here.

  7. FEUD BETWEEN TRUMP AND NADLER..

    ROOTED IN DECADES-OLD REAL ESTATE PROJECT

    The feud between Donald Trump, 72, and Jerrold Nadler, 71, began in the 1980s when Nadler, a New York state assemblyman and later congressman, proved to be a major obstacle to a vast development project that Trump envisioned for Manhattan’s West Side, Nadler’s turf.

    Trump never forgave Nadler, and privately he has simmered about the chairman and his investigation, calling him an irritant who has long been out to get him and recounting their New York run-ins to aides. He was alarmed by the chairman’s early March demands to 81 of Trump’s close associates and business partners for a range of documents, including material on Russia’s election interference and the president’s finances.

    The feud began in 1985, when Trump purchased a dilapidated former railroad yard in Nadler’s assembly district and proposed turning it into a mega-community: 7,600 apartments in six 75-story towers surrounded by television stations, a shopping mall, a massive 7,600-car parking garage and the world’s tallest building — a 150-story skyscraper.

    Already considered a real estate go-getter in his late 30s, Trump wanted to call his development along the Hudson River between 59th and 72nd streets “Television City,” and he predicted that it would be “the greatest piece of land in urban America.”

    But the proposal generated fierce community opposition from locals who feared that the area would become too commercialized and congested. Standing with them was Nadler, who wanted the city to buy the land and upgrade the rail system to preserve middle-class transportation jobs.

    Opposition to the project helped Nadler burnish his liberal reputation as he fought the Queens-born real estate developer, whom many in Manhattan considered an interloper.

    As the project stalled, Trump offered a compromise, dropping his prized skyscraper, scaling back the heights of his proposed towers and agreeing to build a 22-acre park by the Hudson — the linchpin of the deal that included plans to tear down and relocate part of a highway obstructing waterfront views.

    Nadler would have none of it. When he won the nomination to succeed the late U.S. representative Ted Weiss in a special election in the fall of 1992, Nadler talked openly about using his new power at the federal level to ensure that Trump didn’t receive a dime for his bid to move the highway.

    Once in Washington, Nadler panned Trump’s plea for federal assistance as “Trump pork” and worked behind the scenes to write into law a prohibition on any money for relocating a stretch of the highway, a cost he put at $350 million.

    After the congressman blocked the public funds, Trump tried to claim victory anyway, arguing that “Fat Jerry Nadler is doing me a favor” because he’d have to spend less money if the highway stayed put.

    When Trump pushed for a loan guarantee with the Federal Housing Administration, Nadler worked to deny Trump mortgage insurance, which would allow him to borrow money at a lower interest rate. He personally lobbied then-Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew M. Cuomo, pointing out that Trump’s apartments included only a small percentage of affordable housing units, so they did not qualify for assistance.

    In the end, Trump never got the highway moved, but Nadler never got Trump to abandon the project entirely. Trump ensured the construction of 20 residential buildings, but in 2005, with parts of the 1.8 million-square-foot complex still under construction from years of delays and opposition, Trump sold the property for $1.8 billion.

    Edited from: “I’ve Been Battling Nadler For Years: Feud Between Trump, Democrat Rooted In Decades-Old New York Real Estate Project”

    This evening’s WASHINGTON POST

  8. REASONS TO SEE TRUMP’S TAX RETURNS

    1) Income: The returns would offer a gauge of how financially robust the president’s businesses actually are and how much of that money flows to him.

    2) Business Activities: Trump has always said that the Trump Organization employs thousands and that U.S. companies shouldn’t relocate overseas and take jobs away from U.S. workers. Tax returns would offer a view of Trump’s global footprint and provide a clearer sense of the size and scope of his company.

    3) Charitable Giving: Trump has often bragged about being a dedicated philanthropist. If that’s true, his returns would prove it.

    4) Tax Planning: The president uses a lot of shell companies, or LLCs, as part of his business and personal dealings. Some wealthy people have also used shell companies overseas to mask their fortunes and hide the money from authorities. Trump’s returns would show how actively he has used tax havens, if at all.

    5) Transparency and Accountability: This may be the most important category of all. Trump is now, arguably, the most powerful and influential man in the world. His tax returns would provide a much clearer picture of potential financial conflicts or pressures that would come to bear on him in the White House. They would also provide a way of monitoring whether the president is more interested in his financial self-interest and deal-making than policy-making.

    Edited from: “I’ve Seen Trump’s Tax Returns And You Haven’t”

    BLOOMBERG, 4/4/19

  9. Why is Trump so afraid of letting people see his tax returns?

    The most innocent possibility is that he isn’t nearly as wealthy as he has long boasted, and he’s embarrassed by the truth. A less innocent possibility is that he has financial ties that could create political problems for him if those ties became public — for example, ties to Russia or other countries to which his foreign policy has been suspiciously friendly.
    The release of the returns would let “Americans decide whether the president is making decisions that benefit his businesses at the expense of American taxpayers,” Aaron Scherb of Common Cause, the government watchdog group, has written in USA Today. “If Trump has significant debt to banks and/or individuals in certain countries, some of which might be adversaries of the United States, we must know because his foreign policy decisions might be compromised.”

    Seeing the president’s tax returns isn’t a matter of prurient gossip or mere partisan politics. It’s a matter of national interest. So long as Trump is fighting the release, Democrats should keep talking about it.

    David Leonhardt, Editorial Editor

    Today’s NEW YORK TIMES

  10. I always laugh when I read your Articles, I find that I have to remind myself you are a Constitutional Law Professor!

    First the House does not have oversight responsibility over the President and the Executive Branch, the Senate does, but, it is well within the Rights of the States as the Union to demand the President comply with the laws and policies they enact to ensure compliance with the rules governing every aspect of the job of the Chief Executive, and if they do not receive immediate compliance then immediate impeachment should follow.

    When we talk about expenses within the Executive branch, all travel, or any expenses, need to be reviewed and approved by the Senate through their role of advice and consent, especially international travel for everyone up to and including the President, because the Senate may not approve of the agenda, or the opening of negotiations, with a foreign nation, and By and With, means Before and During, so the President can’t even open negotiations with any foreign nation without the Senate’s blessings! Also there are no advisors to the President that can be brought in for any purpose without the consent of the Senate, and the Senate will let the President know what low level officials that he can appoint without their approval, and the President cannot remove or replace any government Official, the President can only bring his desire to remove a person for cause to the attention of Congress and if The States agree then they alone can start impeachment proceedings to remove the person in question.

    When it comes to Congress and the expenses they incur as part of their duties associated with their service, we need to start with the practice of every congressman and Senator having their own office and their own staffs. Only the members need to have an office and a staff for their whole congressional delegation, yes, the States should have one office and one Staff for all their Representatives and Senators, the States are the members of Congress, the Representatives are not Members Themselves, they represent the Members, their States.

    Remember, only the States are members of Congress, only the States are assembled into Congress, only the States have Suffrage in Congress, a Proportional Vote in the House, and an Equal Vote in the Senate, that’s how the Power of the Purse, Legislative Checks and Balances, and Continuity and Stability of of Government are established!

    Finally, the President doesn’t have or assemble an administration, the United States of America assembles an administration, with the Senate creating all the Executive Departments necessary to manage the day to day operations of the country that the President then manages. And by the way, the President isn’t even the Commander in Chief unless and until the military is called into actual service by the States as they are assembled in Congress, yeah, the Senate again where the States are assembled as Equals, and that takes a 2/3 majority of the States, because although each State has two Senators, each with one Vote, the State has Equal Suffrage, Not The Individual Senators.

    The States have two Senators for Continuity and Stability of Government, and to empower the President of the Senate to preside over the Senate through their tie breaking vote, which by the way should almost always be no because a tie is an indication of poor unbalanced legislation which cannot garner the support of a Majority of the People and a Majority of the States!

  11. Still no GOP or Trump supporters on here who will put principle before their obedience to Dear Leader?

    What am an embarrassment.

    1. Trump support principle. What do you support? Lying? That is what it seems like when one copies from prior posts and find you to not be telling the truth. How many more posts do I have to reproduce for you to get the point?

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