President Trump’s tax returns are back in the news now that the collusion conspiracy has completely fallen apart. Every thing old is new again when it comes to Democrat attacks on the President as they rotate back around to the same issues over and over. Next on the list is a continuation of whining about Trump’s taxes and accusing him of hiding illegal activity in them.
The House Ways and Means Committee has formally requested them. According to New York Magazine, Trump has no recourse.
The law governing this matter is unusually clear. The Internal Revenue Code states, “Upon written request from the chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives, the chairman of the Committee on Finance of the Senate, or the chairman of the Joint Committee on Taxation, the Secretary shall furnish such committee with any return or return information specified in such request.” This law has been used to examine tax returns of high-placed political officials. It was enacted in order to let Congress examine financial conflicts of interest by the administration, and forced the disclosure of a president’s tax returns (Richard Nixon).
Is it really as “clear” as the above article purports? We’ll have to see.
For the adminstration’s part, they are saying it’s not going to happen. Acting White House Chief of Statt Mick Mulvaney was on Fox News Sunday yesterday. Host Bill Hemmer asked him about the Democrat’s renewed effort to get a hold of Trump’s taxes. Here’s his answer.
“Oh no, never — nor should they,” Mulvaney told Bill Hemmer, who is filling in for host Chris Wallace, when asked if Democrats will ever see the president’s tax returns. “That’s an issue that was already litigated during the election. Voters knew the president could have given his tax returns. They knew that he didn’t and they elected him anyway.”
Mulvaney added that Democrats “know” they won’t get the returns, and “just want attention on the issue because they don’t want to talk to us about policy.” A “fundamental” purpose of tax law, Mulvaney continued, is to protect the privacy of tax filers.
“If they don’t get what they want in the Mueller report, they’re going to ask for the taxes,” Mulvaney said. “If they don’t get what they want in the taxes, they’re going to ask for something else. It doesn’t surprise anybody.”
I don’t know if the law is on his side or not, but I do know he’s absolutely right about the political nature of this.
When the Mueller report disappointed, the Democrats immediately shifted to the tax returns. It’s just another in a long line of constant attacks to keep feeding red meat to their base. Are we really supposed to believe the Treasury Department, which is full of career government works (i.e. about 90% liberal), is somehow protecting Trump and wouldn’t have leaked anything nefarious by now? If there was anything illegal in his tax returns, we’d know about it.
This is the same nonsense we dealt with in regards to Russian collusion. Some of us have said for at least the last year that the absence of any leaked evidence of collusion was pretty clear proof there was none. Trump can’t go to the bathroom without the amount of toilet paper he used leaking. But we were supposed to believe a huge plot to collude with the Russians remained secret? In the end, there was no collusion and those of us able to critically think were proven right.
The same thing is happening here. We are now supposed to believe in a new conspiracy theory that Trump’s tax returns are full of bad things but not a single one of those things has leaked. Come on.
So why doesn’t Trump want them out? The answer is almost certainly much simpler than any grandiose tax fraud scheme. He probably isn’t as rich as he’s said and he’s likely taken advantage of a lot of legal deductions that would be spun as a negative in the 2020 campaign. It’s also probable that he’s taken big losses over the years, something that could hurt his brand if it gets out. Remember Mitt Romney’s tax returns being so heavily used against him despite the fact that he had done nothing wrong? That’s the play by Democrats here.
What they are doing is transparently political and a complete abuse of the law. Trump may have broken norms when it comes to Presidential speech, but the Democrats have completely destroyed much more relevant and important norms with these constant witch hunts. Mulvaney should continue to tell them go pound sand.