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Trump becomes a taxing issue for Democrats

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Trump becomes a taxing issue for Democrats

Trump becomes a taxing issue for Democrats
April 08
10:30 2019

One of the issues that has simmered since President Trump descended the escalator after announcing he candidacy has been the question of his tax returns.

Before delving into that issue, allow me to make my own opinion clear. I do not believe that any candidate for public office should be required to reveal their tax returns … period. I have not come to this opinion because of Trump.

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I have long advised my candidate clients to firmly reject the all-but-certain requests from the press, public interest groups, and opposing candidates. – And then move on, letting the public make of it what they will. A definitive statement will cut the legs out from under that story – a couple of days of coverage, maybe even negative, and then it is over.

To equivocate is the worst thing to do. When I was communications director in the campaign of Chicago Mayor Eugene Sawyer, he took my advice and firmly stated that he saw no reason to release his returns.

Case closed. BUT, a week or so later, in a television interview, he said he would consider releasing them. From that point until election day, he was dogged by requests for the returns. Incidentally, he lost his reelection bid.

Trump has done a bit of the same. He should have said “no,” and pointed to the extensive financial information he was required to disclose. Instead, he said he would do so pending the conclusion of any audits. Consequently, the issue rolls on and on and on.

My opposition to release tax returns is because, in our system of government and personal freedom, a person’s tax returns are held to be among the most private of private information. It is a crime to reveal them – even for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

There are exceptions, they can be obtained by investigators if they are pertinent to the alleged crime, but even then, they cannot be publicly revealed unless there is an indictment and a trial.

There is that obscure law that enables the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee to request the returns of any citizen, but even then, there can be objections which would take months, if not years, to resolve. Even if they are acquired by the

Appropriations committee, they are not allowed to be made public – although you can rest assured that the leakers will be working overtime.

If you look over the history of the many candidates who have freely released their returns, it becomes abundantly clear that they have served little to no public interest. There were stories about candidates whose charitable or church contributions seemed a bit paltry in view of their wealth, but that was about it.

Former IRS Agent Larry Yukovich may be correct when he said, “For those Americans who are interested in seeing President Trump’s tax returns, I, as a former IRS agent, would like to explain that the end result of their requests really will have no meaning.”

Make no mistake. This gambit to acquire the Trump tax returns is nothing more than political noise. Democrats are appealing to a level of public paranoia by suggesting – without probable cause – that there are awful things about Trump to be revealed. It is a political fishing expedition masquerading as an oversight investigation.

So, what about that law that enables the chairman of the Appropriations Committee to see the returns of ANY citizen. We can expect that Trump’s lawyers will be making a case to the IRS not to release the returns. There is also some vagueness as to who has the authority to release them. Some say it is the Director of the IRS, but the law says “the Secretary,” which would mean the Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin.

If the IRS refuses, the Democrats will go to court. If the IRS says they will release the returns to Congress, you can bet that Trump’s attorneys will go to court. Either way it means that the case likely wind up in the Supreme Court.

Democrats are assuming that the high Court will have to decide to release the returns or not. BUT, there is another option. The

Trump lawyers could file a constitutional case challenging the law itself. The Court could rule that the old law enabling the

Appropriations Committee chairman to obtain the returns of any citizen is … unconstitutional – violating a citizen’s right to privacy.

That would be, in my judgment, the best outcome of all.

In any case, it seems it would be quite a while before the question is settled. So, don’t expect to see those returns any time soon.
So, there ‘tis.

About Author

Larry Horist

Larry Horist

Larry Horist is a conservative activist with an extensive background in economics, public policy and politics. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman, as well as the White House. He has testified as an expert witness before legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress, and lectured at major colleges and universities. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He can be reached at lph@thomasandjoyce.com.

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  1. Billy Williams
    Billy Williams April 08, 19:16

    What is really amazing is releasing taxes and M report would make life much easier for him. He just don,t seem to care.Has nothing to lose either way he seems to enjoy the turmoil he creates

    Reply to this comment
  2. Joz
    Joz April 09, 02:11

    Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney told “Fox News Sunday” in an exclusive interview that Democrats will “never” see President Trump’s tax returns!

    Reply to this comment

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