Trump’s One Choice: Release His Tax Returns, Or Tax Reform Is Dead

By Jason Taylor

Trump keeps moving the goalposts. He used to claim that he would release his taxes when his “audit” ended, which was absurd because no audit precludes releasing taxes, nor does it preclude releasing other years’ forms. In any case, he will not be under audit in perpetuity. Then, Kellyanne Conway said, abruptly, that Trump would not release his taxes because the election was over. Regardless, Trump is still accountable as an official, not just as a candidate.

There’s a strong case to be made that there is an even greater necessity to see Trump’s tax returns than those of other politicians because they would provide some important information about whether he has been a successful businessman (an oft-cited reason for supporting him), potential conflicts of interests and financial entanglements. And having his returns is an imperative for an investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election to be at all credible.

The American people are entitled to know what debts our president owes because we need to know whose interests he’s going to be protecting. It’s simple.

Donald Trump, Jr. told The Wall Street Journal in 2008 that a lot of money flowed into the Trump business from Russia. How much money is flowing to Trump from Russia now? What about all those trademarks that China has let Trump have recently? Who does he owe? Where does he have his assets?These issues and more influence his behavior. This man’s links with Russia stink to high heaven. I suspect he will never willingly release his taxes because he knows he’s up to his neck in ethics conflicts.

I still can’t believe some people are buying Trump’s nonsense explanations. First of all, there’s no proof any of his previous returns are still under audit at all. He’s never shown evidence that’s true. Secondly, even if they are, the general public isn’t going to point out something to the IRS that they’re not already looking at, so there’s no additional risk to Trump at all in releasing them. Thirdly, Nixon released his taxes SPECIFICALLY because he was believed to have cheated a bit (he had, in fact.) and wanted to the public to know he wasn’t “a crook.” So, when there’s suspicion, that’s the VERY TIME to release tax returns…unless one has something to hide.

Nothing Trump has said about his taxes has made ANY sense at all. If he’s truly being audited (which he hasn’t proven), that’s actually a reason *TO RELEASE* them to foster trust, not to hide them. Again, the general public isn’t going to find something the IRS isn’t. Clearly, he’s got something to hide.

As long as Trump continues to hide his taxes from public scrutiny an agreed upon overhaul of the Tax code by August looks to be destined to FAILURE just like the bogus attempt to kill ACA. It’s absolutely nuts to see just how much Trump tax relief optimism and so-called “animal spirits” have jacked up the stock market since the November election. What goes up fast comes down just as fast. And the market is long overdue for a major correction.

There is no legal or legitimate basis for Trump to conceal his tax returns. Even more shocking is the still minimal concern by Republicans and worse, by most Trump supporters who can dismiss such an egregious cover-up of the facts. You do not need to operate in the dark to make America great again unless you are hiding facts and truths that would undermine the President’s legitimacy and our democracy.

Whether Trump releases his taxes or not, it would be naive to think that his business interests won’t reap financial benefits from the policies that do get put in place; they likely already are. This is simply a game to him, one in which he has an unfair advantage and plans to make good use of it, one in which he could care less about the finances of most of us.

The finances of the President should, without exception, be a matter of public record. Period, end of story.

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