Congress Moves To Grab Trump Tax Records From Last Six Years

As expected, the House Democrats demanded the last six years of President Donald Trump‘s tax returns from the Internal Revenue Service. In a letter to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., demanded both personal and business tax information from 2013-2018, including individual and corporate tax returns. Trump has failed to supply his tax records in a departure from decades of tradition. He is wrong to do so. However, the oversight value of these taxes seem sketchy at best.

There is no question that the Committee can demand such records from the IRS. Yet, the explanation by Neal seems a tad opportunistic. There is no allegation of criminal wrongdoing or impeachable acts. Instead, Neal claims that the Committee desperately needs Trump’s taxes because it is necessary to ensure “the accountability of our government and elected officials. To maintain trust in our democracy, the American people must be assured that their government is operating properly, as laws intend.” He claims that the Committee might use the records to help establish tax policies.

Neal is relying on authority under the tax code granted only to the tax-writing committees in Congress that gives the chairmen of the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee the power to request tax information on any filer.

I would certainly support a mandatory requirement for the release of tax records for anyone running for president. However, you do not have to see Trump’s record to advance such an objectively worthy goal. Until Trump, we did not need such a law since presidents since Nixon have acknowledged the reasonableness of such a demand and released their records.

Yet, this is not the Judiciary Committee alleging that there is some potential transactional or banking crime. The Committee’s rationale could not be more generalized and ambiguous. Neal insisted “This request is about policy, not politics; my preparations were made on my own track and timeline, entirely independent of other activities in Congress and the administration.”

It is hard not to see the politics in this demand however. That could set up a fight in the courts. I tend to favor Congress in such fights and I expect the Committee would prevail. However, a court fight could take time with the 2020 campaigns already unfolding.

298 thoughts on “Congress Moves To Grab Trump Tax Records From Last Six Years”

  1. While I see some validity to your position, I am totally opposed to both the idea that the Chair of the House Ways & Means Committee and/or the Chair of the Senate Finance Committee have the right to demand from the IRS the tax returns of any individual, whether the President or someone not even in the public eye.

    On the same note, I am also completely opposed to the view that a person running for President should release his tax returns…just because…tradition, you know.

    I would even go so far as to state that I was disgusted six years ago when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid went to the floor of the Senate and publicly stated that then-candidate for President Mitt Romney “had not paid his income taxes for ten years.” Whether he had any honest reason for making that statement or just used it as a political haymaker, I don’t know; my reasonable guess is the latter.

    I am not going to use this as a forum to state my own opinions on taxation, but I am completely opposed to anyone using the tax code as a political weapon, even if the law does not strictly forbid such actions. But this whole debate about the taxes of the President is just very unseemly and repulsive.

  2. Departure from tradition isn’t actionable. The House Ways and Means Committee isn’t concerned with a specific allegation that President Trump has done anything wrong. Rep. Neal and his committee are on a fishing expedition, in hopes something juicy will turn up on Mr. Trump’s tax records.

    I have no idea what’s on those tax records, or why the President’s refusing to turn them over. I’d be happier if, instead of making excuses about audits, Donald Trump had just loudly damned Neal’s eyes and challenged him to enforce that request in Federal court.

  3. I’m having trouble understanding your view of the Constitution, and the view of persons of your background which are uniquely situated to garner the attention of an ignorant and naive public is the equlivant of malpractice to misconstrue the Fundamental Principles of the Constitution!

    Let’s start with the selection process for the President and Vice President, The Electoral College is an Executive Search Tool which Requires no Applicants. The Electors are indirectly selected by the people to make the selection on their behalf, meaning the people don’t vote for President in a general election based upon candidates identified by political parties, and the States don’t mandate that the results of that general election determines the Electors votes from their State. In fact, as I’m sure you well know, the State Legislature’s, by a method of their choosing, Select a number of Electors equal to the whole number of Representatives and Senators each State is Entitled in Congress, then the Electors Gather in their respective states on the same day and time to vote by Ballot, those ballots are tabulated, certified, and transmitted to the Seat of Government Directed to the President of the Senate, to be open and counted before Congress, until then there is no indication of the Electors Votes or who has achieved the necessary majority of Electors votes to be the President! If the necessary majority is not achieved on the ballots of the Electors, which would be the normal circumstance if the process was conducted properly, then the top 5 persons receiving votes would continue to voting, by State, 1 Vote per State, in the House to directly determine the President and Vice President, if a tie results for Vice President then the Senate will vote by Ballot to determine the Vice President, by State, in the Same manner as was conducted in the House to determine the President!

    How can you say with a straight face that the Elective Processes we have today meet that requirement of Article 2 Section 1 of the Constitution!” And no, I did not consider the 12th Amendment, but the only changes to the Electoral College Process by the 12th Amendment were that each elector must indicate which Ballot they were casting for President and which for Vice President, and if the necessary majority is not reached, for President or Vice President, then the top 3 persons receiving votes for each office will then continue to be considered by the States in the House for the President, and in the Senate for the Vice President to determine the person elected for those offices.

    Now on the subject of taxes, no Federal Taxes can be assessed within the United States on Individuals, only on States by the direct tax rule of Article 1 Section 2 of the Constitution. The only Federal revenue is indirectly assessed through import and excise taxes, and tariffs, but the States must have the right to determine the expenditures which they are then assessed taxes for pay for through their Proportional Suffrage in the House, that’s the States Power of the Purse, and the Equal vote of the States in the Senate for concurrence form Legislative Checks and Balances.

    Although the collection of federal revenue through taxation is unconstitutional, and extortion, Trump’s violation of law, even though those laws are improper, is still a matter of consideration for the States when it comes to the fitness for him to serve as our chief executive officer, but it is the Senate’s responsibility to preside over the Executive Department, which includes the President!

    I’m starting to think no one in this country understands republican Government, and Definitely doesn’t understand the Assembly and function of a Confederated (compound) Republic through a Bicameral Legislature.

    Everything in Article 1 of the Constitution provides the Power of the Purse, Legislative Checks and Balances, and the Continuity and Stability of Government through the Assembly and Suffrage associated with a Bicameral Legislature!

    Prove me wrong or stand up for the Constitution and it’s priciples of republican Government which is guaranteed each State in the Union by Article 4 Section 4 of the Constitution!

    Prove me wrong!

  4. So they are going to subpoena the records, that goes to the Justice Department and IF they elect to do anything to the Treasury Department and the IRS who if not stopped by a higher judicial level may or may not do anything at all. Power is fleeting when it doesn’t exist.

  5. There was a very recent comnents by L4B, whining about a 6-to1 numerical advantage for those who don’t swallow her pablum. I’m not going to try to sort through c.250 comments here; the comments threads have not been compatible with any mobile device I’ve used since late summer
    2018, when something changed with this site’s set-up.
    Anyway, the ratio of left-right-center changes back and forth, but is never actually as disproportionate or an disadvantagous to one side as a sniveling L4B likes to claim.
    L4B has named 12-15 allies here at least two times, in 2 gushing rounds of unprecendented ***-kissing on this site. With at least a dozen that L4B considers to be allies, it’s not possible to come up with a 6/1 ratio.
    So she pretends that the periodic “most frequent commentators” list actually means that there’s a 6/1 numerical advantage. I don”t know the time frame used on determining the “most frequent list, but I know there was a c. 10 day or so period in early March where I posted no comments. Unlike L4B, most of us don’t routinely use 50-100 word rambling sentences in lengthy comments. Nor do most post link after link after link, in the expectation that people have hours read all of her verbiage, plus article after article and link after link that she posts.
    It’s fairly easy for anyone to check the accuracy of what L4B claims…..go through sone of the comments threads and see for yourself if the embattled😵, heroic😉, outnumbered claim by her stand up.

    1. she follows the tried and true methods of a keyboard activist

      posting links, making provocative remarks, the occasional long winded screed to hog up screenspace, are all well known

      sometimes i am guilty too lol

  6. Avoiding taxes. When Rose Kennedy died why did the Kennedy family execute her will in Florida and not Massachusetts? I think we all know why her will was executed in Florida and not Massachusetts. Estate taxes are a tad higher in Massachusetts than Florida. Boo hoo.

  7. Professor Turley claims that “Trump has failed to supply his tax records in a departure from decades of tradition. He is wrong to do so. However, the oversight value of these taxes seem sketchy at best.”

    Donald Trump is not required to release his tax returns and Professor Turley presents no reason for him to do so, let alone a compelling reason. The argument that not disclosing tax returns is “a departure from decades of tradition” is not a reason.

    Of course, the unspoken real reason that the Democrats want Trump’s tax returns is that they are seeking any possible information or potential “ammunition” no matter how irrelevant or inappropriate, by which to make unsupported inferences, conclusory statements, false allegations, or other false and misleading statements to repeat over-and-over with the help of their mainstream media fake news allies.

    Trump’s opposition has no positive message to convey and no programs or ideas of any benefit whatsoever to the American economy, the public’s health or well-being, or for better governance. So when you’ve got nothing, what do you do? I fully understand and appreciate their position.

  8. Democrats are trying to gin up an issue to claim they are fighting for the little guy, in order to distract from their disastrous failed Mueller investigation, 9th month abortion bill, sanctuary cities, defending murderers and rapist felons from deportation, etc. Isn’t the timing odd? Isn’t it ironic that people who don’t release their own taxes to scrutiny, sitting on boards that give lucrative plums out to big donors, demand the returns of their political opponent?

    We all know what’s going to happen. Trump has written off everything that is possibly legal to do so, just like everyone from the lowest taxpayers to the highest do. Everyone knows he has legally carried forward a loss, which significantly reduced his tax burden for years. This is following the legal tax code.

    It is the IRS’ job to audit his tax returns and ensure he follows tax laws, hitting him with late fees or penalties, or issuing refunds, depending on the circumstance.

    Democrats will pick apart dozens of pages of write offs and then crow how unfair these “loopholes” (deductions) all are. The rich aren’t paying their fair share! Down with the rich! They will select only some of the taxes paid, and not the multilevel taxes resulting in millions of dollars, and claim he paid less than his secretary. Tax increases will pass because the majority will willingly hurt someone else, as long as they believe it won’t hurt themselves.

    Even Bill Maher admitted that the rich pay the freight in California. Hammer the golden geese and you destroy productivity and jobs.

    Then they will increase taxes on business owners, and hammer all of us in the name of fairness. It really is true that the most frightening words in the English language are, “We’re from the government and we’re here to help.” (Reagan)

    The rich and the middle class are not the enemy. The bourgeoisie are not the enemy. The 1% are not the enemy. It’s like we’re watching history play out all over again, as politicians try to turn our fellow citizens into an enemy we must destroy, resulting in the inevitable tyranny and abuse. When will we learn?

  9. This is not a list of virtues or the virtuous.

    Quite the opposite, it is a word to the wise…

    or not.
    _____

    RESI IPSA HITS 36,000,000

    The most frequent commentators were:

    Anon

    This is absurd

    Allan

    Mr. Kurtz

    Tom Nash

    Karen S.

    P. Hill
    ____

    “It is better to remain silent at the risk of being thought a fool, than to talk and remove all doubt of it.”

    ― Maurice Switzer

    1. I’ve noted in the past that LT Anonymous, in the absence of any original thoughts, relies heavily on posting links, cutting and pasting, trivial complaints😢, quoting the words of others( And Lincoln and Mark Twain are those most often credited with the quote), and sucking up to some of the trolls.
      I decided to be nice 😇, and not to bring that up when he posted exactly the same comment on another thread earlier today.
      I’m glad😊 he thought of something he could copy twice and “participate” in two threads with identical posts.
      One of LTA’s pet peeves and gripes against me was my use of emojis; after learning that those bothered😵Long-Term Anonymous and made me “look stupid” 🤔 in LTA’s opinion, I have subsequently adjusted my use of emojis appropriately when commenting in reference to LTA.😜😝😏

  10. Big News

    “[I]n the interest of protecting taxpayer dollars from a racist and sexist slush fund devoted to defamation, I believe that the SPLC’s conduct warrants a serious and thorough investigation,” Cotton wrote IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig on Tuesday. “[T]he SPLC’s defining characteristic is to fundraise off of defamation,” Cotton wrote. “…The SPLC operates as a tax-sheltered slush fund to enrich its leadership.”

    https://thefederalist.com/2019/04/04/cotton-demands-irs-investigation-of-far-left-splcs-racist-and-sexist-slush-fund-devoted-to-defamation/

    1. Anonymous, since your ‘Anonymous’, why should anyone take reading recommendations from you?? ..We don’t know ‘who’ the hell you are..!

          1. You mean his one-time squeeze. Our friend Shill is a few years older than David Brock and lives several thousand miles away from David Brock.

        1. RDKAY, of course it’s true! Like I would bother with losers like Estovir if no one was paying me?

          Yeah, I get a six figure income to comment from a plush condominium that’s owned by a liberal who’s despised by Republicans. It’s a great life if you can get it. The only work is dealing with windbags like Alan.

          1. “The only work is dealing with windbags like Alan.”

            At least I am able to force you to work, Peter, though your workproduct is really bad. Do you think you could up your game?

      1. I’m going to leave this site and go to the Peter Hill blog. It’s very popular; posters can talk and talk and talk and talk and…

        1. That one is not L4D. But I would visit a P. Hill blog if there were one. For then and there we could say what we really, really think about the Trumpeters on the Turley blawg. No hold barred. No prisoners taken. No quarter asked. No quarter given. I swear. Turley’s Trumpeters have no idea how much protection they already operate under. And that’s why Turley’s Trumpeters are constantly jawboning the refs for more protection from Trump’s detractors. Swishy Sissy-Men, Turley’s Trumpeters are.

          1. L4B has been given enormous leeway in her efforts to hijack this site, which she uses to write her own columns, tell us how “obtuse” the author of the actual columns is, parades her “superior knowledge” of Constitutional Law when “correcting” JT in the reviews she publishes here of his columns, lies about what others have written, etc.
            For her to whine about “the protection of Trumpers” here is an indication of just how pompous and screwy she is.
            If she wants to start up her own site and do away with all civility rules and filters against profanity, I’ll demonstrate just how much she’s been sheltered here.
            PS- ….Note that I didn’t describe her as ”’unhinged”, which she clearly is. Since calling her unhinged seems to bother her, I’ve mostly avoided calling her unhinged and substituted other words for unhinged.

            1. L4B’s macho act falls short. She may have earned her stripes within her coven as a card-carrying crone/”feminist”, but her John Wayne or Clint Eastwood imitations here are just foolish.
              I’ve pointed out that I’ve previously done some things in encounters with L4B that proved that I was “the bigger man” than L4B.
              Any “Trumper” here is more a man than L4B, which seems to frustrate her no end.

              1. You used to have a six-to-one advantage over L4D. Now you have a six-to-one advantage over P. Hill. A six-to-one advantage is clearly not enough for the Trumpeters on the Turley blawg. They’re constantly calling for disciplinary action against Trump detractors–including expulsion. They’re constantly belittling and disparaging P. Hill and the most recent Anon with carping complaints apropos of swishy sissy-men who know that they can’t make an argument without cheating. It’s actually rather amusing to read your collective hissy-fits in defense of The Richard Simmons Impersonator In Chief, The IMPOTUS, Trump.

                One of these days you Trumpeters will enroll Trump in The List of Holy Martyrs. no doubt. The system is rigged. He should be the only one allowed to run. Crooked Democrats, Lock Them Up.

                1. Diane, if commenters were only concerned with debating issues, I wouldn’t mind being outnumbered. But certain windbags and nerds are only concerned with trying to ‘discredit’ liberals. They imagine the Culture Wars as a struggle that has to be fought in any malicious way possible. And if that means throwing dog poop, well then so be it. Such is the work of a Culture Warrior.

                  1. Peter, you refuse to debate issues. Think of just one of many times, Trump / JFK that you ran away from. You are considered a shill because you post lies, garbage and are unwilling to provide proof while debating the facts.

                    1. On the plus side, Allan, he consistently lets us know that Democrats are good😇, and Republicans bad😈.

                  2. But certain windbags and nerds are only concerned with trying to ‘discredit’ liberals.

                    Peter, your line up includes Natacha, Jill, bettykath, Fishwings, YNOT, and Mark M. “Discrediting” them doesn’t require much active intervention by anyone. Diane might, but the task of wading through the scores of posts she makes every day is just too tedious for anyone to bother.

                    Your problem, really, is that liberal culture has reached peak stupid. Liberals take no interest in public policy anymore. All they do is play status games, hurl insults at people, manufacture fanciful controversies, and compose obnoxious excuses for criminal behavior. One has to smack oneself on the side of the head to remember that Michael Dukakis, who was once espied reading a book on Swedish land use planning at the beach, was once a pillar of that culture.
                    I

                    1. “Your problem, really, is that liberal culture has reached peak stupid.”

                      Maybe, but there’s plenty of “stupid” to go around — both on the left and the right. And in the center, too, for that matter, one might suppose.

                  3. IF CERTAIN “COMMENTATORS” HERE WERE NOT PROPAGANDISTS, BLARING SELECT HHHNN HEADLINES, there would be a better chance of having something like a real debate.

                2. If anyone is playing the martyr here, it’s L4B. That 6 to 1 advantage claims is bull****, and she knows it.

                    1. Hey, I’m bored WITH her. But she does add a festive touch to this site in setting herself up as a year-round pinata, asking to get clobbered. And she’s resilient….when called out on her lies, it doesn’t even faze or embarrass her.
                      She just spews out another set of lies.

          2. No quarter? lol. Swishy men?
            on the contrary you have no idea how protected you have been
            when you finally succeed in suppressing free speech via political correctness, then the playtime will be over and the real games begin.
            we welcome the increasing oppression of the Trump supporters,
            nothing would be more conducive to transforming them into a real cadre of fighters than more antagonistic repression and insults and persecution!

            more lyrics:

            ——————————-

            Make it to the laneway, waiting for the scum
            Smash their ugly faces, kick their f’ing bum
            When they plead for mercy, we will show none
            Skinhead, skinhead, ’til the job is done

      2. Peter, don’t you know what Anonymous is talking about. If you did you wouldn’t have to ask for a citation. I know what Anonymous is talking about and I have talked about that about a year ago on this blog. Why are you in the dark?

      3. It’s too funny that P. Hill can’t deal with anonymous comments. Perhaps he should start his own blog.
        In the meantime, he needs to get a flippin’ life.

  11. What’s wrong with finding out if the POTUS owes taxes to Putin? It’s a good bet he didn’t pay them here.

    1. you are just jealous he has access to Melania while you are stuck with Hillary and Rachel Madcow

    2. FishWings said, “What’s wrong with finding out if the POTUS owes taxes to Putin?”

      Side-splitting laughter is a great gift from heaven. Thank you so much, my friend. You didn’t just make my day. No. That one will last me the rest of the month. Thanks again, FishWings.

      1. More than thirty minutes later and I’m still cracking up. Heaven bless FishWings, The Magnificent Rhetor.

      2. And another thing, Fishwings, Hillary truly is seductive, sexy and virile, just like Rachel sans lipstick. Enjoy them both. My girlfriend and I are a lesbian couple and we wish we were in your shoes with dem gurls

        😉💪🏽👯‍♂️

  12. “Hannity” and “Rush” and “Faux News”.
    Karen S., when some fool “knows” what you base your political/policy beliefs on, rest assured that it’s not because they’re engaging in “self-serving stereotyping”.

    1. There is no such thing as ‘trickle down economics’. It’s a polemical term which doesn’t refer to any actual economic theory or observation.

      1. Is that different than calling it a myth? If so, then how? A myth invented by the other fellow? As opposed to the guy who called it Voodoo Economics? It’s always different when you say it. Isn’t it?

        1. “Voodoo economics” was an insult coined by an economist named Paul MacAvoy contra a specific policy measure being promoted by a different economist, one Arthur Laffer. It wasn’t meant as a technical term. Dr. MacAvoy could have offered a theoretical or empirical critique of Laffer’s work, but the candidate he was advising isn’t going to go in front of an audience in Dubuque and start reading from a scholarly working paper.

      2. TRICKLE-DOWN ECONOMICS was originally a joke by Will Rogers back in the Hoover era. It referred to urine ‘trickling down’. Therefore it’s odd that the Reagan White House ever used that term with regards to policy.

        Since the Reagan era, the benefits of ‘trickle down economics’ have failed to chart. No convincing statistics I know of have shown correlations between tax cuts for the wealthy and benefits for everyone.

        1. They say that JFK said, “a rising tide lifts all boats.” I’d hate to think how Grande of a Republican pissing-contest it might take to create a rising tide.

          1. and Teddy Kennedy said a canal will do just fine to hide a drowned woman, so the Kennedys are consistent

        2. Peter Shill,

          why are you lying on these forums?

          https://jonathanturley.org/2019/03/29/smollett-and-the-scourge-of-celebrity-justice/#comments

          Good Anon says: March 30, 2019 at 6:45 PM
          Peter Shill: “As I noted yesterday, they could be in the country illegally.”

          They are American citizens you dumb ass.
          https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6852889/Questions-mount-Nigerian-bodybuilders-Jussie-Smollet-case.html

          You are a pathetic troll. For all the crying you, Diane, Natacha, et al do about some politicians lying, you lie effortlessly, and like Bill and Hillary, smile about it

          Reply
          P. Hill says: March 30, 2019 at 9:54 PM
          Estovir, F off and die. If you can’t use your name, nothing you post means anything

          Looks like you got slammed by that other dude

          😜

          1. Estovir, ‘F’ off and die already..!!! You are really pathetic.

            At no point have you ever tried to engage in even remotely intelligent debates. Instead your only thrust is trying to undermine the thread with different handles and hit & run attacks. What a jerk!

            Grow up.

              1. Tabby, what is this thing you’re on?? West Hollywood? Public Lewdness? David Brock’s ‘squeeze’..??

                I know we rarely agree, Tabby. But until this week I had no serious animosity towards you. In fact, i thought of you as vaguely funny.

                But in the last few days you have embarked on a truly mean-spirited campaign to smear me with sexual innuendos. How shabby of you!!

                It only validates what we’ve always known about Republicans: ‘There is no low they won’t stoop to in trying to ‘win’ debates’. In that regard, Tabby, you’re the most deplorable of Trumpers.

                1. There is a musician called J Pee who has a bunch of music videos that may refer to Peter. The one that describes Peter best is inadequate. There are others. It takes a short while for the music to start. I’m not used to this type of music but the shoe fits Peter so I’ll let him wear it.

                2. He always appears “reasonable” until he goes off the deep end. I don’t know if it is his meds or boyfriend issues but it is a regular feature of Pogo,TIA3, TSTD. Though usually it is a racial blowout but gay bashing works.

            1. “Estovir, ‘F’ off and die already..!!! ”

              Peter, you have a distinct violent streak. You talk about hate speech and then tell another to drop dead. I wonder if that type of violent languange, “die already”, is fit language for this blog?

        3. Again, there is no such thing as ‘trickle down economics’. Your citing a radio humorist as an authority for a reason, Peter. You’re not referring to any actual set of economic theories or implemented policies.

    2. Trickle down isn’t really an economic plan. It was a convenience to use it but essentially it is meaningless.

      You could attach terms to the underlying ideas behind this phrase. Trickle down would be capitalism. People invest, earn money, pay employees and buy goods. The latter would be socialism where the government sets prices and is essentially the invester and the payee.

      Which do you prefer?

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