*The following is an opinion column by R Muse*
The only good thing about pathological liars is that regardless what they say, one can rest assured that they are lying; no matter how serious the subject of their mendacity or how high the probability their lie will be exposed. Throughout the presidential campaign, no matter how many demands from a wide range of interested parties for Donald Trump to release his tax returns, Trump lied and said that it was impossible because the Internal Revenue Service prohibited him from doing so; some mendacious nonsense about an audit.
As expected, when the IRS completed its audit, Trump still wouldn’t release his taxes because he claimed that he is the president and nobody cares about seeing them or what he is almost certainly hiding.
Obviously, with several petitions floating around, and hundreds-of-thousands of comments on the White House website demanding to see Trump’s tax returns, it did not go unnoticed that Trump has no intention of ever releasing anything for scrutiny. It seemed that there was no recourse for relief until a Democratic House Representative decided to invoke an obscure 1924 tax code law to force the issue and get Trump’s dirty laundry and gross conflicts of interest out in the open; hopefully to kick the bloviate out of the White House.
New Jersey Representative Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) serves on the House Ways and Means Committee and hopes Republicans will acquiesce to his appeal to use a 1924 tax law allowing Congress to examine any Americans’ tax returns for the purpose of determining whether conflicts of interest exist.
Mr. Pascrell sent a letter to Chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means, Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), asking him to order the Treasury Department to provide ten years’ worth of Trump’s tax returns to the committee. After the committee is finished reviewing the documents, they can be released to the full House and by extension the American public. In his letter to the committee chairman, Representative Pascrell said “foreign governments are paying rents, licensing fees, and issuing permits for Trump Organization projects, all of which could be used to influence the president.”
Representative Pascrell is not going to go away quietly, and he shouldn’t. He did say, “If I get a ‘no’ answer on this, I’ll be very honest with you: If these guys think I’m walking away from this, they’re absolutely nuts. The calls we’re getting, the calls other congressmen are getting, it’s unbelievable, we never expected this.” Maybe that is true, but Pascrell and “other congress-people” certainly should have expected a flood of calls.
Mr. Pascrell is right, of course, that they have been getting “calls” about the Trump. Trump and his staff are liars when they say the people could not care less about Trump’s corruption; an overwhelming majority of the people demand that Trump’s tax returns are released.
According to a Washington Post–ABC poll, and a separate Pew Research poll, at least two-thirds of the population want Trump to make his tax returns available for public review. Of course there is no legal requirement for presidents to release their tax returns, but every president since Richard Nixon has done so voluntarily; Nixon eventually released his under pressure from the same congressional mechanism using the 1924 tax code law that Mr. Pascrell is seeking relief from.
It will be curious to watch Republicans justify refusing to use the 1924 tax code law, especially when the GOP-dominated Ways and Means Committee made use of the law barely two years ago when a Democrat was in the White House. Republicans had no issue releasing confidential tax information to the public during its 2015 investigation into the Daryl Issa-created phony “scandal” involving the Internal Revenue Service’s handling of applications for nonprofit status. The Republicans only had access to that “confidential tax information” after they “ordered” the Treasury Department to hand over tax documents; precisely what Pascrell is asking of Republicans now when it really matters.
Mr. Pascrell said, “This isn’t for the Democrats or the Republicans, and it’s not to embarrass anybody. This is to make sure the American people know the facts, and if there are conflicts, they need to be resolved.”
It is those “pesky facts” and “certainty of conflicts” that are the force behind Trump’s refusal to release his returns and why he unilaterally declared the issue moot and settled with his election victory; or as his daughter’s clothing line spokeswoman Kellyanne Conway said, “He’s not going to release his tax returns. We litigated this all through the election.”
Actually, nothing was litigated; Donald Trump lied and said he was barred from releasing his returns while under an audit, something the IRS debunked. Now his lie has been exposed as a certified “whopper” when even after the IRS audit was officially over, Trump said he wasn’t releasing anything because according to his lie, “The only one that cares about my tax returns are the reporters, okay? They’re the only ones. I won; I mean, I became president. No, I don’t think they care at all. I think you care.”
Remember, prior to the election about 60 percent of the people wanted to see the returns and were bothered that Trump refused to be transparent, and that percentage has only grown since then; Trump is a liar and he will have to be forced, by Republicans, to hand over the documents.
It is a sad fact of life that Republicans have nothing to gain by ordering Trump (he oversees the IRS) to expose his corruption and conflicts of interests. As terrified as he is of being caught for conflict of interest, it is the corruption, hidden offshore accounts, and connections to Russia that he does not want the people to see. Trump is not going to release his tax documents and Republicans will not force his hand because they are as corrupt as he is. Besides, they have no desire to anger their rubber-stamp in the Oval Office while they still have a government to destroy, jobs to kill, and Americans to harm.
**The above article contains a report and commentary by R Muse**
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.