Saturday, September 10, 2016

Donald Trump's Excuse for Not Releasing Tax Returns Is Bogus

Eric Thayer/Reuters
Let’s talk taxes, specifically, Donald Trump’s taxes, because if he is elected President of the United States, that and his many other financial secrets will be all anyone in Washington will be discussing for years to come.
Unlike every other nominee for the presidency over the past four decades, Trump has refused to release his tax returns. He uses the bogus claim that he can’t because he is being audited, an argument Richard Nixon could have used to block releasing his tax returns in the midst of the Watergate scandal, but didn’t (after a lot of delay). Also, Trump’s returns from 2002 through 2008 can be released without an issue—all audits involving them are over. But he wants to pretend—or should I say lie?—that turning over records more than a decade old will somehow affect a current audit.
Let’s not pretend: Trump is hiding something. Is he a tax cheat? Does he give nothing to charity? Does he derive income from investments in Ukraine and Russia? Who knows? He has a labyrinthine collection of partnerships, private corporations, holding companies and other investments. America does not know if he is a joint investor with unsavory characters (he has been before) or what financial incentives drive him. So imagine the day after Trump is elected president. If there is a Democratic majority in the Senate—which appears likely—the first subpoena coming out of a congressional committee will be for his tax returns. Whatever nasty secrets they contain will come spilling out. The next set of subpoenas will be for the Trump Organization, the assorted partnerships and family trusts controlled by Trump and his private company, and every other shred of financial information he is hiding. As Nixon once said, in declaring that he welcomed an examination of his taxes, “People have got to know whether or not their president is a crook.”
Normally, those subpoenas might be considered fishing expeditions, but in Trump’s case, it will be essential oversight of the executive branch. No one would be able to know if Trump travels to Russia to continue his game of kissy-face with Vladimir Putin because he is acting in the interest of the United States or because he is in a financial deal with the Russian dictator or some of his oligarch pals.
Read the rest of this op-ed HERE and follow a link to a related story below:

Trump still ducking on tax returns: Our view

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