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Below is the letter I wrote Cong. Mike Bishop R-MI regarding the release of Trump's tax returns. I have posted this letter so that others can use it as a sample for what they should demand from their own members of Congress. Note: Copied below my letter is the text of what Bishop wrote to me in response to a phone call to his office regarding this issue. Use the Congressman's response to frame what you may wish to say in anticipation of what you likely would hear too.

May 5, 2017

Congressman Mike Bishop
28 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515


Dear Congressman Bishop,

I have copied your reply letter to me below so you can refer to it as I discuss the issue of Trump's tax returns in my letter back to you. Thanks for taking the time to reply back in such detail. However, your reply only invites more real and serious concerns and questions back from me.

First I know and agree with you there is no current law requiring Presidents and Presidential candidates to release their tax returns. But even if your party won't do anything to make this a law various states are attempting to do that now for any Presidential candidate to appear on their state ballot. Also as you are fully aware Congresswomen Eshoo D-CA has attempted to put forth a bill HR 305 called the Presidential Tax Transparency Act, but your leadership failed to act on it I don't expect that pattern of obstruction to change any time soon even though there is now some bipartisan support for this bill. There are also Senate efforts lead by Sen. Wyden D-OR to enact a law to require Trump and all other candidates for President to release their tax returns and there a is large activist movement of concerned citizens trying to make this reality. Also it wasn't only Congressman Pascrell D-NJ who has been involved in trying to pass this kind of legislation by resolution. Congressman Nadler D-NY tried to do the same with his own Resolution of Inquiry. As did Zoe Lofgren D-CA and others. All of these efforts were shot down in a partisan display of obstruction. And to be clear that's what this is. OBSTRUCTION, And if your obstruction helps to conceal a crime even one like an Emoluments clause violation, that makes you and your pals in Congress complicit in that cover-up. SO TAKE THIS LETTER AS BEING PUT ON NOTICE: You are failing to uphold your oath of office to defend and protect the Constitution.

Even if you succeed in your efforts to cover-up Trump's tax returns you have blatantly normalized what hasn't been normal behavior since Nixon. And it should NEVER be normal for anyone seeking this office.

As for your claims below summarized by me as: "go away there's nothing new to see here", that's only an excuse to not do the right thing and work with Dems and other Republicans to make sure everyone can find out what's in The Donald's tax returns. Your claim that nothing new will be revealed in these returns is nonsensical at best and a grave threat to this country at worst. But as long as you wish to stick by that claim I would like answers back from you to these questions that can only be answered in full from having seen Donald's tax returns and the supporting documents related to those returns. [I will give you the benefit of the doubt based on your expert knowledge of what's in or not in Donald's tax returns that you can answer all my questions]:

1. Name all the foreign banks Trump has done business with over the past 10 years and the amount of debt he owes these banks now? Also I would like to know how much he borrowed from these banks and when? Please provide a complete list of these banks and the amounts owed by Trump to all of them currently. Also let me know if he was or is delinquent on any of these loans and which ones?

2. Please provide the names of all of Trump's business partners and investors [individuals, corporations, and all other business entties] by name and address and what their business relationship was with him over the past 10 years and if any of these relationships are currently ongoing?. If so, which ones?

3. Provide me names all of the businesses and business ventures being conducted now by the Trump organization and/or family trust? Since it isn't a blind trust of course you already know this presents a serious ethics violation

4. Over the past 10 years and for each year, how much money total has Trump paid in Federal income taxes. The 2005 limited tax return that was sent by mail to David Cay Johnston that you cite in your reply to me falls out of this time frame and is too old to be relevant now. You might be aware of the New York Times report indicating it was likely Trump hasn't paid any Federal income taxes for the past ten years. And by the way, have you been able to confirm that the 2005 tax return everyone saw was the same as what he filed with the IRS? What Trump says is not verification of anything. No one can be certain that this tax return didn't come from Trump himself and so it may not be authentic even though it looks like it is. I suspect it's a fake made and signed by him. Anyone could do the same with the right blank IRS forms and a copy machine. And since none of the supporting documentation came with this "tax return" it really doesn't reveal very much even if authentic. So please list how much money Trump paid in federal taxes each year beginning with the year 2007.

5. Trump claimed during the campaign that the reason he couldn't release his tax returns was because they were under audit. And that he would release them once the audit was finished. Have you seen any IRS audit letters to confirm that any of his tax returns were or are still under audit and if so, which ones? If not, why haven't you asked for proof of what returns were under audit instead of accepting the word of a serial liar? Now, his spokespeople claim he has no intention of releasing any of his tax returns....something I suspected all along. So he lied about that too. Are you not even curious as to why he won't release any of his tax returns? Are you not even slightly concerned about what he is hiding? If not, why? I am sure you aware of all the fraud he has committed since a couple of these were exposed during the campaign [Trump University resulting in a $25 million two-state settlement to his victims and the fraudulent Trump Foundation which never registered itself in the State of NY as required by state law and used Foundation money for personal gain ie buying a portrait of himself and paying off money he owed in a Florida court case that he lost?] So not sure why you seem committed to covering up for this pathological liar, sexual predator, and well-documented con man? Is it because he conned a lot of your supporters into voting for him? Or do you think it better to help him cover-up his emoluments clause violations and possible treason for whatever personal benefits you get from doing that? Or both?

6. How much income did Trump report on his Federal Tax returns for the same 10-year period as above? And how was this income proportioned among his various investments and businesses?

7. Can you be absolutely certain that Trump is not in violation of the Constitution's emoluments clause at this time? If so, I would like to know what documentation you are relying on to support your answer. I already know that you can't be relying on his tax returns.

8. Finally, how much will The Donald save in federal taxes each year based on his current income under his new "tax policy" or whatever his one sheet of paper can be called? I am sure you understand why any tax cuts in policy forthcoming aka failed trickle down economics, will be very problematic without knowing how much this policy proposal will save him and his family members involved in his business currently. If his 2005 tax return is any guide, it will be a lot!!

I would appreciate answers to my questions with any documentation you can provide that support your answers. Obviously you can't support any of the above from the information on his tax returns -- those same tax returns you think everyone should not concern themselves with seeing. But I and many others are very concerned with what he might be getting away with and hiding because of help from people like you who either don't care or don't know any better then to care. Not sure which one is worse.

Furthermore and I quote you from below:
"I will not, however, go along in political stunts aimed to distract and delay Congress from the issues the American people sent us here to fix." 

But I assume it's okay for you to go along with your own parties' political stunts? For example voting on a big tax cut for those making more than $260,000 per year and calling it "health care reform?" That's a much bigger stunt than Democrats and a few Republicans asking to see Trump's tax returns with a pending Justice Department Intelligence investigation on-going and a CREW lawsuit alleging he is in violation of the Constitution's emoluments clause.

Thanks for you time and I hope to hear back within a reasonable time and before Congress takes up any of his tax reform issues.



Thank you for contacting me regarding President Donald Trump's tax returns. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts on these important issues.

As you know, under current law, the President is under no legal obligation to release his tax returns. While it is true that Presidents since Richard Nixon have voluntarily disclosed their tax information, there is no law requiring it. As you also know, on March 14, a copy of President Trump's 2005 federal income tax return was published, disclosing that he paid $38 million in taxes on $150 million in personal income.

Nevertheless, on March 9, 2017, Representative Bill Pascrell introduced a Resolution of Inquiry. This resolution would request the Secretary of the Treasury to provide the House Committee on Ways and Means with President Trump's tax returns for the ten years before he became president. It also requests the Secretary to provide any financial documents relating to Mr. Trumps debts held by a foreign company or government. 

The House Committee on Ways and Means, on which I serve, considered this resolution on March 28, 2017. During that time this resolution was exposed for what it was: a political fishing expedition which would have provided no insight as to the information sought in the resolution. As Representative Jim Renacci pointed out during the hearing, none of the information requestedwould appear on any tax filing. Moreover, President Trump filed publicly available financial disclosures in July 2015, when he began running for President. 

The law requires every citizen's tax information, yours, mine, and the President's, be kept confidential. The law allows certain people to have access to this confidential information in verynarrow circumstances to ensure our tax laws are being enforced equally amongst all. Requiring the Secretary of the Treasury to disclose this information would violate this law which was enacted specifically to protect our privacy. It also perverts the traditional American values of innocent until proven guilty. 

I did not support Representative Pascrell's Resolution of Inquiry because there is no reason to think there will be any new information on tax returns. During our consideration of this resolution, he could not name one type of filing, or one form which would reveal the type of information the resolution seeks to reveal. To then use this powerful tool, of revealing a citizen's private tax information, would set a dangerous precedent, would erode privacy protections, and would do it only for political messaging purposes.  

Please know I understand and appreciate your concerns. I will remain vigilant in my Constitutionally mandated oversight duties, where they remain productive, and seriously related to the problems our nations faces. As your representative in Congress, I will continue to work with any of my colleagues, Republican or Democrat, who have serious ideas to solve the problems we are facing. I will not, however, go along in political stunts aimed to distract and delay Congress from the issues the American people sent us here to fix. 

Again, thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts on this issue. Please feel free to contact me in the future should you have additional questions or concerns. In the meantime, my continuing best regards to you and your family.


Michael D. Bishop
Member of Congress

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