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In February, U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Willsboro, asked NY-21 Democratic congressional candidates if they were going to release their tax returns to the public as the incumbent has done.

And some of the Democratic challengers asked why Stefanik was not calling for the release of President Trump’s return instead.

Spokesman Tom Flanagin said this week regarding the call for Trump’s tax returns, "Congresswoman Stefanik has repeatedly and publicly called on President Trump to release his tax returns."

"She leads by example and releases her own tax returns and they are publicly available on her website. She has released her tax returns every year going back to her first run for Congress," Flanagin wrote in an email. "She publicly calls on all her Congressional opponents to release their tax returns."

But a review of the past year reveals that the congresswoman has not voted for or signed onto letters written by House members demanding the release of Trump’s tax returns.

Last February, U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr., D-NJ, a member of the Ways and Means Committee, wrote a letter to Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady, R-TX, asking him to submit a formal request to the Secretary of the Treasury for President Trump’s tax returns for each of the past ten years.

"The Presidential campaign is over and the fear that a political opponent will try to use tax returns for electoral benefit is passed," wrote Rep. Pascrell in the letter to Brady. "President Trump is now governing while also owning a business with international investments. The Constitution faces unprecedented threats due to this arrangement. I believe the powerful Ways and Means Committee has the responsibility to use that power to ensure proper oversight of the executive branch by requesting a review of President Trump’s tax returns."

According to Pascrell, current law allows the House Committee on Ways and Means, the Senate Committee on Finance, and the Joint Committee on Taxation to make such a request to allow members of the committee to review the tax documents of any individual in closed session and consider their public release.

Nonetheless, Stefanik instead voted in favor of a motion to block the release of Trump's taxes.

Regarding that vote Flanagin said, "What you're referring to is a Democrat campaign gimmick. It's a procedural vote and Congresswoman Stefanik voted to uphold the rules of the House and ensure the actual legislation that was being debated by the House was given its full, due consideration.

Still, there have been 25 calls from Feb. 2, 2017 to Dec. 17, 2017 from the House for the release of the President’s return. Stefanik did not support those initiatives.

They include:

  • February 1, 2017 – LETTER (BRADY) - Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ) sent a letter to Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) asking him to use his authority under Section 6103 of the Internal Revenue Code to request ten years of tax return documents for President Donald Trump in order to review them in closed committee for conflicts.
  • February 3, 2017 – AMENDMENT (COMMITTEE) - At the subsequent Ways and Means Committee, during a markup of a Views and Estimates Letter, Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) introduced amendment that would have forced Chairman Brady to obtain Trump's tax returns for review by the committee. It was vote down on party lines.
  • February 13, 2017 – LETTER RESPONSE (BRADY) - Chairman Brady commented to the press that he would not use his authority to seek President Trump's tax returns.
  • February 27, 2017 – PRIVILEGED RESOLUTION (FULL HOUSE) - Pascrell offered a Privileged Resolution that would have forced a release of Trump's tax returns. Republicans voted it down on party lines (voted to table the appeal), 229-185.
  • March 1, 2017 – LETTER (HATCH) - Pascrell attended a press conference with Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Tom Carper (D-DE) to discuss their efforts to obtain Trump's tax returns via Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT).
  • March 2, 2017 – LETTER (BRADY/HATCH) - Pascrell sent a second letter to Chairmen Hatch and Brady asking them to use their authority under Section 6103 to request Trump's tax returns. 165 members signed on to the letter, including two Republicans (Jones, Sanford).
  • March 3, 2017 – LETTER RESPONSE (BRADY/HATCH) Chairmen Brady and Hatch responded formally to Pascrell letter saying they believed using Section 6103 would be an abuse of the committees' powers.
  • March 7, 2017 – PRIVILEGED RESOLUTION (FULL HOUSE) - Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) offered a privileged resolution similar to the one Pascrell offered the week before. This was also tabled along party lines, 227-186, though Jones voted with the Democrats opposing the motion to table, and Sanford again voted present.
  • March 8, 2017 – AMENDMENT (COMMITTEE) - The Ways and Means Committee met to markup the American Health Care Act. Doggett again offered an amendment to force request of Trump's tax returns. It was also voted down on party lines.
  • March 9, 2017 – RESOLUTION OF INQUIRY (COMMITTEEE/FULL HOUSE) - Pascrell introduced a Resolution of Inquiry, which would force the Ways and Means Committee to vote on whether to obtain Trump's tax returns within 14 legislative days. If they do not meet to do so, any member can bring the resolution to the floor for a full vote.
  • March 15, 2017 – PRIVILEGED RESOLUTION (FULL HOUSE) - Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY) offered a Privileged Resolution similar to Pascrell. This was also tabled along party lines, 227-186, though Jones voted with the Democrats opposing the motion to table, and Sanford again voted present.
  • March 21, 2017 – PRIVILEGED RESOLUTION (FULL HOUSE) - Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) offered a Privileged Resolution similar to Pascrell. This was also tabled along party lines, 227-186, though Jones voted with the Democrats opposing the motion to table, and Sanford again voted present.
  • March 27, 2017 – PRIVILEGED RESOLUTION (FULL HOUSE) - Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) offered a Privileged Resolution similar to Pascrell. This was also tabled along party lines, 227-186, though Jones voted with the Democrats opposing the motion to table, and Sanford again voted present.
  • March 28, 2017 – RESOLUTION OF INQUIRY RESPONSE (COMMITTEEE/FULL HOUSE) Ways and Means markup Pascrell Resolution of Inquiry (H. Res. 186). After extensive discussion, measure defeated on party lines in committee and will not be voted on by the full House.
  • April 3, 2017 – PRIVILEGED RESOLUTION (FULL HOUSE) - Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) offered a Privileged Resolution similar to Pascrell. This was also tabled along party lines, 227-186, though Jones voted with the Democrats opposing the motion to table, and Sanford again voted present.
  • April 5, 2017 – DISCHARGE PETITION (FULL HOUSE) - Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) offered a discharged petition, which Leader Pelosi and you signed, to force a vote on her bill, the Presidential Tax Transparency Act (H.R. 5386), which would require any major candidate for President to provide a copy of their tax returns for the three most recent years as of the date of their nomination.
  • May 16, 2017 – PRIVILEGED RESOLUTION (FULL HOUSE) - Pascrell offered a Privileged Resolution that would have forced a release of Trump's tax returns.
  • May 23, 2017 – PRIVILEGED RESOLUTION (FULL HOUSE) – Rep. Linda Sanchez offered a Privileged Resolution that would have forced a release of Trump's tax returns.
  • June 7, 2017 – PRIVILEGED RESOLUTION (FULL HOUSE) – Rep. Mike Capuano offered a Privileged Resolution that would have forced a release of Trump's tax returns.
  • June 13, 2017 – PRIVILEGED RESOLUTION (FULL HOUSE) – Rep. Lloyd Doggett offered a Privileged Resolution that would have forced a release of Trump's tax returns.
  • July 11, 2017 – PRIVILEGED RESOLUTION (FULL HOUSE) – Rep. David Cicilline offered a Privileged Resolution that would have forced a release of Trump's tax returns.
  • July 27, 2017 – RESOLUTION OF INQUIRY (COMMITTEEE/FULL HOUSE) - Pascrell introduced a resolution of inquiry (H. Res. 479), which would force the Ways and Means Committee to vote on whether to obtain Trump’s personal and business tax returns within 14 legislative days.
  • September 7, 2017 – RESOLUTION OF INQUIRY (COMMITTEE) Ways and Means markup Pascrell Resolution of Inquiry (H. Res. 479). The measure was defeated on party lines in committee and was not voted on by the full House.
  • November 9, 2017 – AMENDMENT (COMMITTEE) The Ways and Means Committee met to markup the H.R. 1 (tax reform). Mr. Pascrell offered an amendment to force request of Trump's tax returns. It was also voted down on party lines.
  • December 20, 2017 – LETTER (TRUMP) Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ) sent a letter to President Donald J. Trump urging him to release his tax returns in the name of transparency, citing Trump’s many promises to release his tax returns for public analysis.

Kathleen Phalen-Tomaselli is a features writer at The Post-Star. She can be reached at kphalen-tomaselli@poststar.com for comments or story ideas. 

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