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Add yet another government overreach to the “Things You Didn’t Think Could Happen in America” file: Democrats on the lame-duck House and Ways and Means Committee voted Tuesday to release six years of former President Donald Trump’s tax returns. Why? Because they um, uh—because they want to?
But wait, you say to yourself, that’s not possible; your tax returns are private by federal law, and therefore protected from release.
The Dems of course found a sleazy way around that. The tax code allows the committee to look at people’s tax returns to provide “oversight” of the Internal Revenue Service, and by writing an official report on their findings, then those returns can legally become public as part of the report.
We’ve already seen Trump’s tax returns. They were leaked to the Times and there was nothing noteworthy in them.
The problem here is the precedent. Congress can just seize tax returns and release them publicly now? That’s going to be a thing?
— Bonchie (@bonchieredstate) December 21, 2022
The intrusion of government into our private lives and the ongoing weaponization of federal departments have reached truly scary new heights. We see peaceful anti-abortion protesters rounded up by heavily armed squads, we find that the FBI worked closely with social media companies to censor citizens (a clear violation of the First Amendment), we’ve witnessed highly-questionable raids on Trump and his opponents, and now this.
Among other things, it sets a dangerous precedent, as we are likely to see more tax wars among political opponents in the future. Lawrence Gibbs, IRS Commissioner under Reagan and Bush the Elder, warned of this in 2019 [emphasis mine]:
As a former Internal Revenue Service commissioner, I believe taxpayers assume the IRS will protect the privacy and confidentiality of whatever information they put in their tax returns or otherwise provide to the IRS. I also believe that if politicians are able to obtain and make public the president’s tax returns and tax information, they are likely to do the same thing to anyone else they choose to target in the future, including but likely not limited to political donors or other supporters of any public figure in any political party.
As with so many other things with Democrats, this type of “justice” is only applied to one political party:
Democrats obsess over President Trump’s tax returns, but have no problem with the Pelosi family’s stock trades.
— House Judiciary GOP (@JudiciaryGOP) December 20, 2022
I haven’t seen any reports on Hunter Biden’s tax returns yet, either, have you?
Here’s exactly what will be released, according to Newsbreak:
The returns encompass years 2015 to 2020 and could be released within a few days, Ways and Means leader Richard Neal (D-Mass.), said Wednesday night after the vote. The returns will be attached to a package of two reports from the Ways and Means Committee to the broader Congress about the presidential audit system of the IRS.
Here comes Trump’s taxes. The House Committee has approved they be released to the public. pic.twitter.com/RgpWnS5Ld5
— Mike Sington (@MikeSington) December 21, 2022
Republicans on the Committee, who voted in unison to block the release, were infuriated. The GOP leader of the group, Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) told reporters Tuesday:
This meeting actually sets a terrible precedent that unleashes a dangerous new political weapon that reaches far beyond the former president.
Libs are rejoicing on Twitter and elsewhere, saying this is democracy at work and that we all have a right to know what’s in Trump’s taxes. But here’s the thing: we don’t. They whined and sniveled in 2016 when he refused to release his taxes when he was running for president, but guess what, there is no law that required him to do so, and there is no law requiring former presidents to release them either.
Love Trump or hate him, he has rights too. Democrats may find out if and when the Republicans regain power that these kinds of shenanigans might come back to bite them in the a***.
Like the sham Jan. 6 committee investigation, this spectacle does nothing to serve the American people, improve our lives, or even see that justice is done. They have not even claimed Trump committed a crime—it’s more to satisfy their curiosity and to defame Trump than it is legitimate oversight of the IRS.
It’s just the latest in a long string of banana republic stunts that this administration, the DOJ, the IRS, and other institutions have pulled that are severely eroding the public’s trust in their own government. Many Americans once used to love their democracy; now they’re becoming afraid of it.
I don’t care about Trump’s taxes nearly as much as I care about the taxes of Hunter Biden & Jeffrey Epstein.
— Jackson Hinkle 🇺🇸 (@jacksonhinklle) December 21, 2022