Democrats who are chomping at the bit to go after Donald Trump’s tax returns, as well as investigate accusations of corruption, if they take control of the House after the midterms can thank a rule change pushed through by the GOP that they plan to take advantage of.
According to Politico, in 2015 the House Republican leadership changed a rule to permit many of their committee chairmen to issue subpoenas without consulting the minority party.
In a strange twist of fate, Democrats then opposed the rule change that was then used to harass President Barack Obama.
With Democrats expected to become the majority party in the House after the midterms, committee memberships would flip to Democratic control — including the powerful chairmanship positions.
“The Republicans have set the standard and, by God, we’re going to emulate that standard,” Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) said in an interview with Politico.
In 2015 Democrats protested the move, with Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) lamenting, “I think that subpoena authority is a powerful authority and should be used only as a last resort,” now the shoe is on the other foot.
According to a prominent Republican who is stepping down, the GOP — and Trump in particular — are about to get a taste of their own investigatory medicine.
“I thought it was a mistake then but they did it,” Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) explained. “It’s a powerful tool and you should either vote on it or it should be bipartisan.”
Of major GOP concern, would be the ascension of Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) who likely would take the gavel at the powerful House Financial Services Committee which could look into Trump’s finances.
According to Politico, “One House Democratic aide said Waters would no doubt want to subpoena the Trump administration if she became the financial services chairman in January. But her decision on whether to keep the unilateral power to do so may depend on how large a majority the Democrats have after the election, and whether committee Democrats would want to have a record on subpoena votes.”
You can read the rest of the report here.