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February 15, 2017

Meehan among Republicans who torpedoed chance to get Trump tax returns

On Saturday, April 15, marchers in Washington, D.C. and several other U.S. cities will demand that President Donald Trump release his tax returns.

On the campaign trail, Trump repeatedly said that he would release those returns, which would shed light on his business dealings, finances and potential conflicts of interest. Since his election, however, the president has refused, saying the U.S. public doesn't care.

U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan certainly doesn't seem to care (but more on that later.)

The organizers of the Tax Day protests  expected to draw hundreds of thousands of people nationwide  disagree. 

According to the march's web site, "74 percent of Americans think this is unacceptable."

The marches will protest “the absolute unfairness of a man who is a billionaire president who might be not paying taxes while working folks are paying their fair share,” Gwen Snyder, a community organizer and national organizer of Tax March, told The Guardian.

It turns out, though, that House Republicans passed on an opportunity to examine Trump's returns via "a rarely invoked 1924 law," according to a USA Today report on Saturday.

Rep. Bill Pascrell, a New Jersey Democrat, asked the Ways and Means Committee chairman, Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas, "to order the Treasury Department to provide tax returns to the committee," the report said, adding the committee could share them with the full House, in effect making them public.

Democrats on the committee on Tuesday introduced an amendment that would’ve requested the tax returns from the Treasury Department, according to The Atlantic magazine:

“Unless this amendment is adopted, we will never see the president's tax returns while he's in office,” Rep. Sander Levin told his Republican colleagues. “Before you stonewall this, I urge you to think twice. You'll only keep the issue alive.”

Regardless, the 23 Republicans on the committee ignored the Michigan congressman's warning and rejected the amendment on a party-line vote, the Atlantic reported.

One of those votes was cast by Meehan of the 7th Congressional District, which includes most of Delaware County and parts of Chester and Montgomery counties, and is widely considered to be gerrymandered.

He was re-elected in November to his third term on Capitol Hill. The Atlantic's list of the 23 GOPers included an asterisk by Meehan's name denoting he represents a "relatively competitive district."

The Atlantic had its own warning for Meehan and his fellow Republicans on the committee:

The vote could come back to haunt these legislators if the tax returns eventually come to light and reveal something that American voters feel they should’ve known, especially given the weak rationale offered by Republicans in defense of the vote.