March 14, 2019
Yesterday a coalition of good government and progressive groups sent a letter to Speaker Pelosi urging her to “to take every available step to ensure that the House Ways and Means Committee fulfills its Constitutional obligation to provide stringent oversight.” You wouldn’t think such a letter would be necessary. Given the broad public outcry at different rules for the rich and everyone else, you would think a Democratic Party seeking to reclaim the mantle of populism would naturally pursue opportunities to discover the “who, what, when, where, why, and how” of tax evasion.
March 13, 2019
Dear Speaker Pelosi,
We are writing you as organizations who believe that fairness and equity in both the writing and implementation of tax law is of critical importance. Our commitment to fairness is why we urge you to take every available step to ensure that the House Ways and Means Committee fulfills its Constitutional obligation to provide stringent oversight.
March 13, 2019 | The American Prospect
As most House Democrats enthusiastically jump on the long-dormant congressional oversight train, one senior lawmaker has conspicuously chosen to stay on the platform. Under the leadership of Representative Richard Neal, the House Committee on Ways and Means has shown none of the zeal for oversight exhibited by its counterparts.
March 04, 2019
Don’t let the headline (“House Democrats prepare case to request Trump tax returns”) fool you: Richard Neal’s announcement of a plan to issue a request letter for Trump’s tax returns comes distressingly late — and projects to be vastly too modest in scope. Revolving Door Project, which has helped lead the way in spotlighting Neal’s shirking the need for serious Congressional oversight, notes the following problems with the request as reported by NBC News.
March 01, 2019
As federal policymakers shrink away from their campaign promises to request President Trump’s tax returns, state lawmakers are stepping up to take their place. On January 24, the New Jersey Senate passed a bill that would bar presidential and vice-presidential candidates from appearing on the ballot unless they released five years of federal tax returns. Meanwhile, there is growing momentum in New York for the TRUTH ACT, a bill which would require state tax authorities to release tax returns for any officials elected statewide, from State Comptroller and Attorney General up the ranks through to the President of the United States. That bill now has 78 cosponsors in the NY State Assembly (a majority) and 28 in the State Senate (four shy of a majority). If passed, New York state tax authorities will be required to release Trump’s tax records within 30 days. Those records would not just include income earned in New York state but worldwide income as well.
February 24, 2019 | Al Jazeera
Figuring out what is and is not an emergency in Donald Trump’s America is far from straightforward.
On February 15, in order to get funds to build a wall along the southern border of the United States, Trump declared a “national emergency”. And he did this even though the situation at the border is in no meaningful sense getting worse, let alone deteriorating rapidly enough to constitute an “emergency”. In fact, border crossings are actually declining, and as commentators across the ideological spectrum noted, Trump’s own words make clear that there is no “national emergency.”
January 29, 2019
Eleanor Eagan and Jeff Hauser
Immediately following President Trump’s election, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s future generated renewed and robust interest. The Government Sponsored Entities’ (GSE) shares rallied on expectations that the Trump administration would take both entities out of conservatorship in a manner that rewarded all shareholders, including hedge-fund speculators. In the intervening two years, however, those expectations faded and shares in the GSEs underwent a slow decline.
January 28, 2019
Jeff Hauser and Eleanor Eagan
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) has been criticized by many, including us, for his failure to pursue Trump’s tax returns in a timely manner. In an article in the Berkshire Eagle with the friendly title, “Neal lays groundwork on push for Trump tax returns,” Neal gave his constituents his side of the story.
Below, we annotate Neal’s claims.
January 25, 2019 | The Hill
The executive branch has been overrun by individuals who have consistently consequences. It is, therefore, unsurprising that last week, two Treasury Department officials declined to make themselves available to speak with the House Committee on Ways and Means.
January 16, 2019
Eleanor Eagan, Jeff Hauser, and Adewale Maye
You have likely not heard of Joseph Otting, as he has generated comparatively little attention amidst the circus that is President Trump’s executive branch. However, he is a deeply problematic official who has quietly amassed power in critical agencies that receive far too little attention given their impact on the economy and housing. Amazingly, Otting seems to be using these agencies to act upon resentments he developed as a “controversial,” at best, banking executive, making him a perfect representative of why we are concerned by the revolving door problem in our federal government.
January 15, 2019 | The American Prospect
There was supposed to be one genuinely easy victory for the new Democratic majority in the House. Medicare for All? No. Green New Deal? No. Critical? Yes—but easy? No. But Trump’s tax returns? Yes, the new majority was supposed to be able to inspect that holy grail of opposition research.
That’s why one of the most discordant notes of the first week of the new Congress was a decision by Representative Richard Neal of Massachusetts, the newly elevated chair of the powerful House Committee on Ways and Means, to retreat on his promises to move quickly to obtain Trump’s tax returns.
January 12, 2019 | The Huffington Post
Want Americans to feel like the country is fair? Think the rule of law is important? Prosecute powerful people when they commit crimes. Even people who worked for a president. Even a former president.
The story of 21st-century America is complex, but the narrative of powerful people behaving terribly and getting away with it is arguably the common thread.
January 10, 2019 | Rewire
The dozens of newly elected Congressional Democrats sworn in last week are getting a lot of much-deserved attention. They are a diverse group who represent a wide variety of districts, but they are united by a common dilemma—how can junior members of a party that lacks control of the U.S. Senate or presidency make their mark with legislation?
Barring miracles, the sad fact is that over the next two years, they cannot.
November 17, 2018 | The Hill
Much of the commentary surrounding the midterm elections focuses on the divide between increasingly Democratic metropolitan areas and increasingly intensely Republican rural and small-town America.
Some pundits and former elected officials claim an emphasis on “the opioid crisis” and rural economic development policy proposals can address Democrats’ weaknesses in areas with disproportionate power in the Senate.
October 17, 2018 | Rewire.News
Many election analyses in the Trump era pose false choices for Democrats seeking to gain control of the U.S. Congress. That’s especially true in the abundant category of commentary and analysis asking: “What should Democrats do?”
Consider some of the classics of the “advice” genre: “Democrats should focus on health care, not Russia” or, “Trump’s appeal was based on economics, not racism.”