Letter to the Hon. David Kautter, Acting Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, the Hon. Caroline Hunter, Chair of the Federal Election Commission, and the Hon. Ellen Weintraub, Vice Chair of the FEC - Demand Investigation into Trump Foundation


Date: July 26, 2018

Dear Acting Director Kautter, Chair Hunter, and Vice Chair Weintraub,

On June 14th New York State Attorney General Barbara Underwood filed a civil suit against President Donald Trump for persistently misusing funds from the Donald J. Trump Foundation to benefit himself and his businesses and recommended the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Federal Election Commission (FEC) investigate the President and his foundation. As Members of Congress who support transparency and accountability, we also urge you to investigate this matter to determine whether the President broke the law and abused our tax system, and to refer the matter to the Department of Justice for criminal prosecution if the evidence warrants.

Attorney General Underwood's civil suit alleges that as the head of the Trump Foundation, President Trump engaged in "persistently illegal conduct," using the tax-exempt foundation to benefit himself, his businesses, and his presidential campaign. The President is also accused of signing four false tax returns claiming the Foundation used none of its funds to benefit himself or his businesses. Because the allegations pertain to tax fraud, federal investigators would have the authority to obtain the President's tax returns and make them publicly available for the first time.

Tax returns contain vital information such as whether the candidate paid taxes; what they own; how much they've borrowed and from whom; whether they've made charitable donations; and whether they've taken advantage of tax loopholes or offshore tax shelters. They are also highly instructive as to any conflicts of interest. The current President has 564 financial positions in companies located in the U.S. and around the world according to Federal Election Commission forms, making him more susceptible to conflicts of interest than any president in our history.

We have supported congressional efforts to obtain President Trump's tax returns to examine them for conflicts of interest and tax compliance. Due to inaction from the congressional majority, his financial interests and tax compliance remain obscured. We implore you to use your authority to examine whether the President is following our laws and tax code.

The IRS and the FEC have an obligation to investigate alleged violations of the tax code and campaign finance law, respectively, and we urge you to promptly begin these investigations.

Thank you in advance for your timely response to our request.