Donald Trump’s family fortune was built on illegal tax evasion schemes. He inherited over $400 million from his father, and since then he has increased his net worth in part by cheating on his taxes, just like his father did.
So there is a huge appetite on the part of the public to learn more about Donald Trump’s taxes. And we want to see his tax returns.
It was reported yesterday that Trump is facing 17 different investigations, and none of them is more important than an investigation into his tax history.
His tax returns might show:
- He cheated on his taxes,
- He had secret business dealings with foreign governments,
- He had business dealings with the mob, and
- He is not nearly as wealthy as he says he is.
While campaigning, Trump repeatedly promised to release his tax returns, but he never did.
But in January the Democrats in charge of the House of Representatives plan to make the president live up to those promises. They have pledged to get Trump’s tax returns and release them to the public.
Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee have said they will formally request them from the treasury secretary during next year’s Congress.
One member of the committee, Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-N.J.) told The Washington Post:
“We’re keeping close-to-the-vest when we’re going to do this and how we’re going to do this, but leadership agrees that this should be one of our priorities.”
According to the Post:
“Pascrell has led 17 separate Democratic attempts over the past two years to obtain Trump’s tax returns via a little-known 1924 provision in the Internal Revenue Code that was added during the Teapot Dome scandal. Section 6103 (f)(1) says the treasury secretary “shall furnish” the tax return of any individual upon written request from the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, the Senate Finance Committee or the Joint Committee on Taxation.”
George Yin, the former executive director of the Joint Committee on Taxation, told the Post that the Section 6103 authority requires a legitimate legislative purpose if Trump and/or the IRS refuse to deliver the tax returns and it have to go to court to try to obtain them.
According to Pascrell, the Democrats have more than one “legitimate legislative purpose.” He cited Trump’s “potential conflicts of interest domestically and abroad.” He also cited Trump’s violation of the emoluments clause of the Constitution.
Pascrell says potential conflicts of interest due to financial entanglements with foreign countries would put the president in a “compromising position.”
“I’d like to go back 15 to 20 years in Trump’s returns, and I don’t say that haphazardly, because we want to know how involved he was in these business dealings,” Pascrell said.
He also clarified that there are no limits on how much return information the Ways and Means Committee can request from the IRS.
The public will see Trump’s returns if the full House votes to release them after being submitted by the committee. Pascrell says he and other Democrats are discussing doing this.
In November, Trump warned of a “warlike posture” if Democrats requested his tax returns. Yin, who has consulted with Pascrell on obtaining Trump’s taxes, said there has never been a court challenge to the Section 6103 provision. This means the Democrats are likely to prevail and eventually get copies of the tax returns, the content of which is one of the great mysteries in American politics.
We have a right to know what is in tax returns, and we encourage the Democrats in the House to continue the efforts to obtain them, and make it a top priority in the new Congress.
As Pascrell said:
“This is not a way to embarrass the president. He does a good job at that himself . The chairman has the right to ask for those returns and the president may feel that there’s no law which forces him to do that and then we’ll see. We’ll go to the courts.”
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.