You can’t have missed the multi-million dollar, decades-long Republican campaign to smear Hillary Rodham Clinton as untrustworthy. It’s snared quite a few progressives as well, since it offers an easy opportunity to attack Clinton.
They say former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is untrustworthy, not transparent, that she will end up in jail for doing with her emails what most of the earlier 2016 Republican hopefuls had done with theirs.
In fact if the issue is an alleged “security risk”, Sarah Palin used a Yahoo server to conduct business as the Governor of Alaska, even during the 2008 campaign when she was the Republican VP nominee. That account was hacked, and we were told that the hacker was the bad person. No one suggested Palin go to jail. Every Republican who has used a public email or run their own server or system has done the same thing (and that list is too long to enumerate here).
But you can’t get online without seeing an ad (or paid “commenters”) “asking” if Hillary Clinton should go to jail for this. The point of this smear is not that anyone thinks Clinton will actually go to jail, it’s to add to the public’s vague perception of Hillary Clinton as untrustworthy. It’s another way to reinforce this character attack, which is all Republicans have against a woman who has repeatedly won most admired politician.
Yet, Hillary Clinton is the only candidate in the 2016 race to put her full tax returns and medical records online. These are long and detailed reports. There are separate reports for the speech income. There is a doctor’s report saying she is fit to be president.
Republican front-runner Donald Trump claimed falsely that he can’t release his because he’s being audited. But the IRS said there is nothing stopping anyone from sharing their own tax information. Yet Trump’s followers will tell you that Hillary Clinton is going to jail.
Ted Cruz has released his online but they are not complete. Cruz only released two pages from each year. Cruz’ documents, while better than none, leave a lot out. Politico pointed out that Cruz’ documents “don’t reveal many details like which tax breaks he claimed or how much he gave to charity.”
Governor John Kasich also only released summary reports of his tax returns, which he did in an effort to pressure Donald Trump to release his. Prior to this, “Kasich had only allowed reporters to review a copy of his 2008 tax return, though he didn’t permit them to make copies at the time.”
Senator Bernie Sanders has not released his full tax documents yet, which became an issue today on CNN:
Sanders: You know, we are not – you know, to be very honest with you, you know who does our tax returns? My wife does our tax returns. We have been a little bit busy lately. So, we will get out as much information as we can. There ain’t going to be very much exciting in that. I get a salary from the United States Senate. You know, there’s not going to be anything new in it that there hasn’t – people haven’t seen for the last many years, but we will get it out as soon as we can.
Tapper: But nobody – nobody has seen them at all, I guess, is the point. And whether or not there’s anything exciting in them…
Sanders: No, that is not true. That is – that is not true. Of course, we have released them in the past. Our financial situation, to the best of my knowledge, has not changed very much, but we will get out all of that information as soon as we can.”
Although Sanders has previously reported less than $750,000 in assets, so it’s not as if he has a ton of hidden income that would be problematic for the voters, although he should release his info. He is, based on earlier reports, easily the closest to the financial situation of ordinary Americans of all of the candidates.
As senators, both Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz have to file disclosure forms.
Hillary Clinton has had all of her information vetted and public for so long, she knew the drill. She came prepared. People can attack her for what is in the documents, but they can’t honestly claim she’s not being transparent. The reason she is being attacked is partly because she is being transparent. But it’s also because she’s the front-runner.
Republicans are not the only people attacking Clinton’s character based on nothing much but feelings and rumors. It’s sad to see Democrats fall for decades of dirt thrown at the Clintons. Democrats have two good candidates this season. The differences between the two are procedural more than ideological.
But the truth is most Americans do not know candidates personally. The important thing is for a candidate to be a person who stands for what they say they stand for and to let the public know who they are and what they care about. A prepared candidate will know they have to release their tax returns and that the public deserves to see them.
Hillary Clinton is, by a mere one percentage point, the most honest of the 2016 presidential candidates according to fact checkers, followed by Bernie Sanders and John Kasich, who are tied. Now she has the most transparent tax returns and medical release. This does matter, because it makes it very difficult to claim she’s not transparent or trustworthy without being disingenuous, especially if a candidate hasn’t been as transparent as she has been.
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Sarah has been credentialed to cover President Barack Obama, then VP Joe Biden, 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and exclusively interviewed Speaker Nancy Pelosi multiple times and exclusively covered her first home appearance after the first impeachment of then President Donald Trump.
Sarah is two-time Telly award winning video producer and a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.
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