Democrats from New York are trying to pass a new state law to try and gain access to President Trump’s tax returns. Is this an inspired hunt for evidence of criminality or a simply another avenue of attack and distraction?
The Empire State has three million people living in poverty. They just snatched defeat from the jaws of victory after losing Amazon’s HQ2’s with its promise of adding 25,000 high paying jobs + the 27-billion-dollar economic benefit to the state because of anti-capitalist politicians. New York City’s subway, responsible for the daily transportation needs of millions of people is crumbling under the weight of Democrat Governor Andrew Cuomo’s incompetence and corruption. In the face of these mounting disasters, Cuomo and his fellow Democrat legislators have chosen to help their constituents by addressing none of these problems. Instead, they are using their powers to invade Trump’s financial privacy for political gain.
The New York Times reports:
Under a bill that is scheduled to be introduced this week, the commissioner of the New York Department of Taxation and Finance would be permitted to release any state tax return requested by leaders of three congressional committees for any “specific and legitimate legislative purpose.”
This legislation is designed for the single purpose of damaging Donald Trump politically. Democrats have been chomping at the bit for the president’s tax returns, which they believe will show that the fabulously wealthy business magnate paid little in taxes. They do not, mind you, suspect he engaged in criminal tax evasion. Nor do they think the disclosure would reveal entanglement with foreign actors giving evidence of “collusion.” They just want to use them as a cudgel against Trump’s re-election.
How can we see so deep into the hearts of these cavorting legislators and learn their motivations? We need not. All we need to know is that starting before he was even elected, Donald Trump has been required by law to file an exhaustive financial disclosure report with the United States Office of Government Ethics (OGE). He has. Here they are. OpenSecrets.org says the disclosure “detail[s] their financial holdings, debt, and sources of income so that the public can identify any conflicts of interest they may have.”
Do you know what document was not designed to reveal conflicts of interest or financial entanglements? A federal or state tax return. Those only show taxable events and tax owed. Trump’s 2018 OGE disclosure, on the other hand, is 95 pages of small print detailing every single corporation, partnership, or business entity, foreign or domestic in which he has an interest. Why then such a press for the tax documents? Because Donald Trump has likely taken advantage of every conceivable pinhole in the tax code to reduce his taxable income.
If he has, and his marginal rate paid is quite lower than most Americans’, that could damage him in his re-election bid. Congressional Democrats smell a potential win here and have already begun to threaten using their new powers of a majority in the House to subpoena the returns. Last week, Politico reported:
Rep. Richard Neal, chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, demanded in a letter to IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig on Wednesday that six years of Trump’s personal tax returns, as well as some from his businesses, be handed over by April 10.
Then Rep. Neal (D-MA) stated that if the returns were not turned over, the House would subpoena them. The administration has been strident in its refusal to relent to these demands. White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney appeared on Fox News Sunday this week and said the returns would not be released. He said the Congress could review them for any compelling reason, but that a “political hit job is not one of those reasons.”
Well then, if Congress can’t get at them, what about other avenues of attack? That’s where the state legislatures come in. New York State Republican chairman Ed Cox told the Times, “This is a bill of attainder, aimed at one person,” and that it was “outrageous politics,” to advance Cuomo’s political ambition.
The great movie “A Man For All Seasons” is the story of Sir Thomas More, who stood up to King Henry VIII when the king rejected the Roman Catholic Church to obtain a divorce and remarry. Democrats should be mindful of one scene in particular. More’s son in law Roper urges him to arrest a man he despises but has committed no crime. More refuses, and this exchange ensues:
ROPER: So! Now you’d give the Devil benefit of law!
MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
ROPER: Yes! I’d cut down every law in England to do that!
MORE: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat?
What will Democrats do when they knock down every law in pursuit of Trump? Harry Reid’s nuclear option on court nominees doesn’t seem to have worked out so well for them. This will not turn out so good either. But the real victims in this desperate lawfare are the citizens of the United States, who need laws to be based on something other than Andrew Cuomo’s efforts to move from the Big Apple to the DC Swamp.