House Resolution 186: Demand President Trump's Tax Returns

On March 9th, 2017, Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) introduced House Resolution 186 (H.Res 186), a “Resolution of Inquiry” to direct Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to provide to the House of Representatives ten years of President Trump’s tax returns along with other information on his financial dealings. Disclosure of these documents will provide vital information as Congress and the American public try to untangle the Trump Administration’s connections to Russia. Unlike every other presidential candidate in recent history—Democrat or Republican—President Trump has refused to release his tax returns to the American people. Given that every day brings another revelation about the Trump campaign’s communications with Russia, this issue is more important now than ever. What is President Trump trying to hide?  

Throughout this script, replace “[Representative Hernandez]” with the name of your Representative.

This call should only be made to your member of the House of Representatives. You might notice that we're calling this "H.Res. 186." Unlike a typical bill that becomes a law (like in Schoolhouse Rock), an H.Res. instructs the House to do something—in this case, use its authority to direct Treasury Secretary Mnuchin to provide the House with President Trump's taxes. An H.Res won’t go on to the Senate after the House votes.

Sample Call Dialogue 

Caller: Good morning/afternoon! What is [Representative Hernandez’s] position on H.Res. 186, which requires the release of President Trump’s tax returns? 

OPTION ONE: SUPPORTS H.RES. 186,  SUPPORTS REQUIRING THE RELEASE OF TRUMP’S TAX RETURNS

  • Staffer: Thank you for calling! [Representative Hernandez] supports H.Res. 186 and the release of President Trump’s tax returns.

    Caller: That’s great! I’m calling to say that if [Representative Hernandez] truly believes, as I do, that the American people deserve the truth from the President, then s/he should do everything s/he can to promote the full disclosure of any of his potential conflicts of interest—particularly about Trump’s business dealings in Russia. This means speaking out for the full and complete release of President Trump’s tax returns and the release of all financial information about the President’s ongoing business relationships. 

    I’m happy to hear that [Representative Hernandez]  supports H.Res. 186 and the disclosure of any of the President’s conflicts of interest. But will s/he commit to take a public stand on this issue by co-sponsoring H.Res. 186? Will s/he support any Congressional investigation that leads to the release of President Trump’s tax returns and more information about his business dealings in Russia? 

OPTION TWO: OPPOSES H.RES. 186, DOES NOT SUPPORT REQUIRING THE RELEASE OF TRUMP’S RETURNS

  • Staffer: Thank you for calling! [Representative Hernandez] opposes H.Res. 186 and the release of President Trump’s tax returns.

    Caller: That’s terrible. That means that [Representative Hernandez] believes that the American people do not have a right to know whether Trump is using the office of the presidency for personal gain. Every day, we learn more about this Administration’s ties to Russia, and without seeing President Trump’s tax returns, we won’t know what his businesses mean for his relationship with Russia. It sounds like [Representative Hernandez] would rather not know if President Trump has any conflicts of interest. Donald Trump works for us now. He promised to release his tax returns. Why wouldn’t [Representative Hernandez] want President Trump to keep that promise?

    Staffer: The President won the election and there are more important problems to solve. This issue is not important.

    Caller: That’s wrong. This issue is more important now than ever! Every voter deserves to have confidence that the President is working to promote American interests. By not releasing this information, President Trump undermines that confidence. Does [Representative Hernandez] think it’s okay for Trump to use the presidency for his own personal enrichment? Or for a President to have conflicts of interest in Russia?

    The President promised to make this disclosure. Every other candidate for President in recent history has done so. Isn’t it easier for everyone if this issue is finally resolved?

OPTION THREE: DODGES / HAS NO POSITION

  • Staffer: Thank you for calling! I have no idea what H.Res. 186 is and [Representative Hernandez] has not taken a position on the release of President Trump’s tax returns. I’m happy to take down your concerns. 

    Caller: That’s disappointing to hear. This is a very important issue for our country and its future. By not releasing his tax returns, Donald Trump is breaking a promise he made to the American people. He is keeping all of us in the dark about his ongoing business relationships. Donald Trump works for us, and only for us. He should not be allowed to enrich himself while sitting in the Oval Office. He needs to clear the air about any business dealings he may have had with Russia.

    Here is my concern: we need transparency about Trump’s ongoing business relationships, particularly about his business dealings in Russia. I expect [Representative Hernandez] to do three things to show that s/he is in on my side:

    1. Cosponsor H.Res. 186.

    2. Commit to publicly speak out for the full and complete release of President Trump’s tax returns.

    3. Support any Congressional investigation that leads to the release of President Trump’s tax returns. 

    Will [Representative Hernandez] take these steps?

    Staffer: I will certainly pass on your concerns to [Representative Hernandez].

    Caller: Please do, and please take down my contact information to let me know when [Representative Hernandez] has made up his/her mind. I’m eager to hear what s/he decides.

ScriptsCaroline Kavit