President Donald Trump was the first major party nominee in over forty years to keep his personal tax returns private and, despite his claims to the contrary, it appears some people do care after all. On Saturday, thousands across the country participated in marches to urge the president to disclose his tax records. There were close to one hundred fifty demonstrations nationwide.
Many who participated in the marches believe that President Trump’s refusal to release his tax information proves that he is hiding something. One of these people is none other than Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA). According to The Daily Caller, she had some harsh — and ridiculous — words for the president:
“I don’t trust this president,” Waters said. “His motives and his actions are contemptible, and I will fight every day until he is impeached.”
Waters has repeatedly called for Trump’s impeachment over unfounded allegations that he has improper ties to the Russian government and for his refusal to release his taxes. The liberal Democrats has also asserted that Trump deserves jail time.
While most presidents since Richard Nixon have released their tax returns to the public, they are not legally required to do so. Since the days of his campaign, President Trump has refused to disclose these documents. The president stated that since he is currently under an audit, he was advised not to make his records public until the I.R.S. review is complete.
The president’s critics want him to reveal his tax information because they believe it will reveal information that will damage President Trump. They seem to think the documents would show whether or not President Trump has engaged in any unlawful practices with Russia. That’s right; they are hoping that his tax returns will help them further the yet-to-be-proven Russiagate narrative.
Although the I.R.S. has stated that no regulations are prohibiting the president from releasing his tax returns, Trump has insisted that making his tax information public before the audit is complete would be a mistake. Apparently, there are tax attorneys who agree with the advice given to the president. Law Newz states:
While Trump has sometimes been quick to say legal experts side with him, on this one, we have to say it is true. Tax attorneys who spoke with LawNewz.com said they would advise their clients not to release taxes in the midst of an audit.
It seems that attorneys routinely advise their wealthier clients not to release tax returns during I.R.S. inspections. Another attorney stated:
I would absolutely advise a client not to release returns under audit to the public. Critics could pull certain items on the returns out of context and there would be political pressure on the IRS to scrutinize those items even if they ordinarily wouldn’t be controversial.
It is clear that there are potential ramifications for President Trump’s should he release his tax information, yet this fact has not prevented the president’s critics on the right and left from calling on him to do so.
While the president has not released his most current tax returns, his tax information from past years has been made public. The most recent example was MSNBC’s underwhelming reveal of President Trump’s 2005 tax returns. Rachel Maddow humiliated herself and her network on national television when she had to acknowledge that Trump paid $38 million in taxes.
It is also likely that those looking for a smoking gun in the Trump/Russia collusion narrative might be disappointed if and when the president chooses to release his tax returns. It is unlikely that they would find any evidence that the Trump campaign collaborated with Russia to influence the presidential election. The Washington Post explains:
However, even if Trump has business ties with Russian oligarchs or the Russian government — please note the “if,” because there is nothing suggesting that is the case — it’s highly unlikely that evidence of that would show up in his personal tax returns. That’s the unanimous opinion of three respected tax experts I consulted, none of whom is an apologist for Trump.
The reason Mr. Trump’s detractors would not be able to use his tax returns to tie him to Russia is that businessmen like President Trump tend to transact their dealings through multiple corporate entities such as LLC’s, corporations, and partnerships. Additionally, tax information may not provide much insight into the inner workings of Trump’s companies.
It appears that President Trump’s enemies do not have as much to gain from seeing his tax records as they seem to believe. The real reason the American public should want the president to release his tax returns is that it can help them better understand the person that is running their country. Unfortunately, this does not seem to be the case when it comes to President Trump. The left wants him to release the documents so they can use the information against him. The right wants him to release the documents so that we can put the matter to bed already. Either way, the issue is far from resolved.