There's no rule preventing Trump from releasing his taxes, even if he is under audit.
Trump's excuse for keeping his tax returns hidden was destroyed Wednesday afternoon by none other than the head of the IRS.
Trump has insisted for years that he cannot release his tax returns because they are under audit. IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig was questioned about this very issue by Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-GA) at a hearing of the House Appropriations Subcommittee.
"If anyone's tax return is under audit, is there a rule that would prohibit a taxpayer from releasing it?" Bishop asked.
"I think I've answered that question: No," Rettig answered. In response to a later question, Rettig said he "was not aware" of any rule that would prohibit the release of tax returns that are under audit.
On Wednesday morning, Trump once again tried to use an audit as an excuse as to why he wants to keep his tax returns hidden from public scrutiny.
"Now, I will say this, I would love to give them [tax returns], but I'm not going to do it while I'm under audit. It's very simple," Trump told reporters.
Before the election, Trump repeatedly promised to release his taxes. But he never did, becoming the first president since Richard Nixon to not voluntarily release this information.
The issue is coming to a head because last week, Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA), chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, sent a letter to the IRS demanding six years of Trump's taxes, including returns from several of his businesses. According to a 1920s era law, the Treasury Department must turn over tax returns requested by the head of either the House Ways and Means Committee or the Senate Finance Committee.
House Democrats are seeking Trump's tax returns as part of their constitutional oversight duties, in order to assess whether or not Trump has any conflicts of interest, shady business relationships, or undue influence from foreign governments like Russia or Saudi Arabia.
Further, Trump's former attorney and "fixer," Michael Cohen, claimed in congressional testimony that Trump may have broken the law to avoid paying millions of dollars in state and local taxes.
Rather than come clean with the American people, Trump is hiding his taxes. But his excuses for doing so are quickly falling apart.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.