Do Donald Trump's tax returns still matter? | The Tylt

Do Donald Trump's tax returns still matter?

Donald Trump's lack of transparency with regards to his tax returns has long been a point of contention. The president claims he cannot release his returns because he is under audit, despite the fact that legally, he is still allowed to release them. Democrats are now taking two new steps in an attempt to see Trump's tax returns, both on a national and state level. Trump and his surrogates though argue the public does not care about the returns and Democrats are merely playing politics. What do you think?

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Do Donald Trump's tax returns still matter?
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As the president has refused to allow lawmakers or the public to see his tax returns, many lawmakers are becoming more creative in their methods. New York State is considering legislation which would allow the state to release tax returns for “specific and legitimate legislative purpose” based on requests from the heads of three congressional committees. 

On a national level, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee Richard Neal formally requested six years of Trump's tax returns based on a provision of the tax code which allows the chairman of the committee to request such information from the IRS. While Neal has claimed the request is completely straightforward, many say the code has never been used to request tax information from anyone as high profile as the president. 

As the LA Times reports, the president and his surrogates immediately took to the defensive, saying Democrats were overreaching.

[Mick] Mulvaney took a far more aggressive stance, accusing the Democrats of taking part in a “political hit job” with no legal or legislative basis. Speaking on “Fox News Sunday,” the chief of staff said of a handover of the returns: “That is not going to happen, and they know it.”
...Mulvaney also argued, as other Trump aides have done on this issue and others, that the tax-return question was “already litigated” in the 2016 campaign and settled by Trump winning.
#WhoCaresAboutTaxes

Mulvaney was joined by several other members of the Trump administration to voice concerns about the legitimacy of the requests. Per Politico

Late last week, a Virginia-based lawyer working for Trump urged Treasury’s general counsel to deny Neal’s request on the basis that there was neither a “legislative purpose” nor a “legitimate committee purpose” for seeking the president’s returns.
“It would be a gross abuse of power for the majority party to use tax returns as a weapon to attack, harass, and intimidate their political opponent,” attorney William Consovoy said.
And on Sunday, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and Trump attorney Jay Sekulow also pushed back on the demand.
...Sekulow, meanwhile, asserted that Democrats stood the chance of setting a dangerous precedent of weaponizing the IRS for political purposes.
#ShowUsTheReturns

Others, including Dean Obeidallah at CNN claimed the American public had a right to know what was in the tax returns. Not only that, but the administration's insistence on dodging requests raised more red flags. 

You don't have to be a detective on "CSI" to get a sense that there's a reason Trump doesn't want America to see his tax returns. I don't want to engage in rank speculation as to the why, but the fact is that Trump was the first major party presidential candidate since Watergate to fail to release his tax returns.
...Trump has now taken his opposition to the release of his tax returns to desperate heights, in light of Rep. Neal's formal request for six years of his personal and corporate returns. As CNN recently reported, Trump and his legal team are so opposed to releasing the returns that they "are willing to fight the House Democratic request all the way to the Supreme Court." As one Trump official added, "This is a hill and people would be willing to die on it."
People are willing to "die" to keep Trump's tax returns from going public?! Wow, so much for Trump being happy to release his returns after the audit was completed.
#ShowUsTheReturns

In a January 2017 New York Times op-ed, Democratic Senator Ron Wyden argued without the information included in the president's tax returns, there is no way for the American public to fully trust the president. 

Without these returns, Americans cannot know whether he is using the presidency to enrich himself and his family. Americans won’t know whether a policy he proposes primarily benefits steelworkers in Pennsylvania or lines his own pocket.
They will also be unable to tell whether Mr. Trump is telling the truth when he claims to have no connections to Russia, contradicting public evidence and statements by his own son. His stated excuse about being under audit doesn’t pass the smell test. Previous presidents and nominees have released their returns under the same circumstances.

That sentiment has not waned in the intervening months. According to a Washington Post/ABC poll in January 2019, 60% of Americans still wanted to see the president's tax returns. 

FINAL RESULTS
Politics
Do Donald Trump's tax returns still matter?
A festive crown for the winner
#ShowUsTheReturns
#WhoCaresAboutTaxes