Trump is willing to go to incredible lengths to stop Americans from knowing where his money comes from.
Trump really doesn't want anyone to know what's in his tax returns. He's hired legal a legal team, installed a Trump-friendly IRS Commissioner, and dispatched acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney to go on Fox News and talk tough.
Mulvaney seems to think that it is Trump that can stop this from happening, saying his returns will "never" be released. He's wrong. Tax returns are requested from, and furnished by, the secretary of the treasury. And the tax code specifically requires the Treasury Department to give tax returns to the chairs of the tax committees in the House and Senate upon request, as long as those are viewed in a closed session.
Keep in mind, that's an issue that was already litigated during the election. Voters knew the President could have given over his tax returns, they knew that he didn't and they elected him anyway. Which, of course, is what drives the Democrats crazy.
Meanwhile, Republicans in Congress have been pretending their real concern is privacy — that this would set a dangerous precedent for all taxpayers. Of course, Trump could alleviate those concerns right now by just releasing his taxes voluntarily. That way, we could all avoid the possible slippery slope of this portion of the tax code being used against people.
The GOP has also tried to argue that the House Democrats can't have Trump's tax returns because their motivation is political. The Democrats have asked for the returns because they believe its the authority and duty of the House to make sure the president doesn't have conflicts of interest. The GOP is so partisan, though, that they see any attempt at oversight as an attack on Trump.
And now Trump, who surely must have hired more lawyers than any other president during his White House tenure, has lawyered up yet again. Conveniently, though, the firm he's retained to represent him in his desperate quest to keep his taxes secret is already representing him in one of his emoluments clause lawsuits, so at least he didn't have to go far.
Trump's fighting this war on all fronts. He also tried to ram through the nomination of Michael Desmond to lead the IRS, presumably in the hopes that Desmond could shield him from a tax inquiry. Desmond is a true Trump crony, having advised the Trump Organization on tax-related issues in the past. In any other administration, that would be disqualifying, but for Trump, it's par for the course.
Trump's tax returns contain something Trump will go to any lengths to hide. The only question now is what.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.