Fitzpatrick Continues to Fight Government Corruption

Introduces Bills to Increase Executive Transparency, Accountability

September 28, 2018

Washington, DC—U.S. Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and Tom Suozzi (D-NY) introduced bipartisan legislation today that requires presidential and vice-presidential candidates to disclose their tax returns.

The Presidential Tax Transparency Act mandates the Secretary of the Treasury to disclose and make publicly available tax returns and return information of presidential and vice-presidential candidates filed within the 10 tax years preceding the year in which the individual becomes a candidate. Legislative text available here.

 “Transparency and unimpeachable integrity are essential to a government that truly serves the people of the United States,” said Rep. Fitzpatrick. “The mandated release of tax information of those who seek the highest offices in our land sheds light on the backgrounds and financial transactions of candidates, allowing the American people to make a more fully informed decision on whom they choose to elevate. I’m confident this bipartisan legislation will help restore the American’s people’s faith in Congress and hold public officials accountable.”

“Historically candidates for President and Vice President have disclosed their tax returns as a matter of custom. The President’s refusal to disclose his tax returns require the Congress to pass legislation mandating the disclosure for future candidates, if we are to: 1) give the American people access to information regarding candidates’ potential conflicts of interest and 2) guarantee access to information necessary to hold President’s accountable for any of their potential official actions aimed at personal enrichment,” said Rep. Suozzi.

Last year, Fitzpatrick and Suozzi introduced the Close Official Acts Loophole (COAL) Act, which would expand the definition of “official act” under federal law. It would include any decision or action, including approval, disapproval, recommendation, rendering of advice, or investigation of any matter that could come before any public official during their job. It would close the loophole which allowed the corruption convictions of former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and former New York Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos to be overturned.

Additionally, Congressman Fitzpatrick introduced today the Cabinet Service Integrity Act, which prohibits cabinet members and their immediate family from soliciting donations from foreign sources. High-ranking federal officials should not use their office or status as influential political officials to solicit funds from overseas entities. Legislative text available here.

These introductions continue Rep. Fitzpatrick’s fight against government corruption. On his first day in office, Fitzpatrick introduced Congressional Term limits, ‘No Budget, No Pay,’ eliminate Congressional pensions, reforming political gerrymandering, and ensuring that all laws passed by Congress apply to its members. Earlier this month, Fitzpatrick was called the ‘heart and soul’ behind the push for congressional term limits.

These two bills in particular were inspired by Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) recent ethics reform package.