Debate Moderators Should Press Trump On Why the IRS Says He’s Lying

*The following is an opinion column by R Muse*

Heading into the final stretch of this long tiring campaign and the first presidential debate, it is refreshing to see a few outlets beginning to call out Donald Trump’s pathological lying. And yes, when a person cannot go three minutes and 15 seconds without lying, their mendacity is pathological. First it was the New York Times stating that going forward, the paper would call out Trump’s lies when it was warranted, and then Newsweek all but accused the scam artist and big-time wrestling celebrity of committing perjury and spent a few hundred words accusing him of serial lying; either to a court and-or to Republican voters and the American people.

One of the pesky issues following Trump is his abject refusal to release his tax returns to give American voters a little insight into the kind of person that claims to be, all at once, the epitome of genius, a successful self-made billionaire, a military mastermind, an economic god, and the most religious man in America.

Of course everything Trump says if false, including why he can’t release his tax returns, but if debate moderators are half-way competent and Hillary Clinton really wants to put Trump’s feet to the fire, they will corner him on why he refuses to do what every presidential candidate since Nixon has done and give the people a glimpse into his finances; something Trump refuses to consider.

As a former Internal Revenue Service (IRS) commissioner and current practicing tax lawyer, Fred Goldberg said he comprehends why “it may be inconvenient for Trump to release his tax returns. But we all know — and the IRS has confirmed — that nothing prevents any of us from releasing our tax returns any time we want.” As an aside, Mr. Goldberg is a lifelong Republican who is supporting and voting for Hillary Clinton.

Despite the mountain of lies issuing forth from Trump’s lips, both the current and a former IRS commissioner have stated categorically that nothing whatsoever prevents any American taxpayer from either choosing to release, or conceal, their tax returns. Former commissioner, Reagan-appointee, and George H.W. Bush assistance Treasury Secretary Goldberg rightly noted:

Those who aspire for the highest public office have done so for decades, and they do so precisely because their returns provide a window (for better and worse) into who they are.” Goldberg noted that Hillary Clinton released her family’s tax records showing what they make, what tax rate they pay (34%), and how much they contribute to charity. He also said that Trump could satisfy those meager requirements by releasing the first two pages of his returns and Schedule A (personal itemized deductions), but he refuses to release anything and devises new and easily refutable lies for why.

As a man suffering a severe pathological inclination to lie every three minutes, the voters “are entitled” to view “this window” into the corrupt confidence man who aspires to lead this country.

Mr. Goldberg made a very astute observation that, to anyone listening carefully to Mr. Trump, it is obvious that there is something nasty in his returns he doesn’t want revealed; he has promised that he will never release even a page of his returns. Even Willard ‘Mitt’ Romney gets it that for Trump to reject calls to release his returns so vehemently, there must be a ‘bombshell” the scam artist doesn’t want revealed to the public and why he keeps fabricating new lies about why it is never going to happen.

First Trump pledged to release his returns “if” he won the nomination. Then he promised to release his returns when the IRS’ “current” audit ends; he still lies and says he is prevented by the IRS from releasing anything while under audit. This is all while claiming that he is, has been, and always will be under continuous audit by the IRS because Obama. Then he played the persecuted Christian card and claimed he was in perpetual audit because of his deep-seated religiosity. Finally, he told another easily debunked lie that he can hardly release any current or years-past return, including alleged audited returns now closed, because doing so would adversely impact any current and future IRS examinations. As Mr. Goldberg noted, through his myriad lies, Trump telegraphed that he will never release his tax returns under the phony conditions he claims prevent him from doing so.

Every reason Trump has proffered thus far for why it is impossible to release his returns is a bald-faced lie according to current IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. As far back as April Mr. Koskinen began answering ongoing media queries about Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns and elucidated why Donald Trump is a liar.

Koskinen first explained that the only reason the IRS ever audits a taxpayer, including “alleged” religious billionaire taxpayers, is “when something pops up in your tax returns they find suspicious. It’s basically all about the numbers.” Mr. Koskinen also bristled at the idea that either Party or religious affiliation is part of any IRS audit red flag. The IRS Commissioner said,

We don’t care who you are. Whether you go to church, or don’t go to church.” Koskinen reiterated that audits only occur if there is something “suspicious” in a return and no other reason. Of course Trump is not remotely religious. No serial liar, thrice-divorced misogynist, three-time accused rapist, or corrupt politician can claim to be religious. But he does pander to evangelical extremists who love the idea of a beleaguered Christian martyr standing strong against the IRS.

Mr. Koskinen was also happy to address Trump’s claim that it is an IRS prohibition for a taxpayer to release his or her tax return while an audit is ongoing. He explained,

The taxpayer controls his returns. There’s nothing in an IRS audit process that would keep you from sharing that information, any way you wanted to.”

He also addressed Trump’s lie that he has been audited every year during the time President Obama has been in the Oval Office. He stated twice that “it would be rare for someone to be audited every year,” and that a taxpayer would not have to undergo another audit for a few years, two or three at least, after an IRS audit the previous year. As a seasonal tax professional over the past twenty-plus years, one can attest to the veracity of Mr. Koskinen’s portrayal of the IRS audit system.

It is difficult to imagine that there is not something devastating to Donald Trump in his tax returns or he would have released them instead of fabricating new unbelievable lies about why he can’t do what every other presidential candidate does as a matter of course. It is true that pressing him during the debate is not going to incite him to be honest and give the voters a view of how he cheats to make his millions, but it will put his filthy lies to rest armed with IRS commissioners’ statements debunking those flimsy excuses.

Americans deserve to know, at the least, how much Trump earns, how much he contributes to charity, and what tax rate he pays. They also deserve to know just how much of his income is derived from his Russian oligarch pals and how many millions he has fleeced from the government and his many, many financially-ruined business “partners,” subcontractors, and material suppliers. Trump accuses Hillary Clinton of not being transparent regularly, but if he is unwilling to release his tax returns like every other presidential candidate, he’s not only not being transparent; he is hiding something devastating and lying profusely to cover his corruption.