Donald Trump has promised and promised to release his tax returns so many times I’ve lost track. Trump’s taxes, his big and approved and beautiful tax returns were being prepared to show to the world back in January. Coming from the guy who insisted on seeing every iteration of President Obama’s birth certificate, this lack of transparency surpasses hypocritical into the land of Holy Fuck What Alternative Universe Is This?
This morning, Paul Manafort, my favorite Trumpsplainer, dropped the bombshell I’ve been waiting for:
“Mr. Trump has said that his taxes are under audit and he will not be releasing them,” Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort told “CBS This Morning.”
“It has nothing to do with Russia, it has nothing to do with any country other than the United States and his normal tax auditing process,” Manafort added.
Trump has pushed back in recent months on calls from Democrats and some Republicans, namely former GOP nominee Mitt Romney, to release his tax returns.
Conservative columnist George Will this week argued Trump doesn’t want to release his taxes because they show “he is deeply involved in dealing with Russia oligarchs.” source
Let me take a moment and rip every bit of this to shreds. Brief note to anyone comparing this to transcripts or emails or used tissues: This is not the same thing at all. Period. Full Stop. Every single person who has half a clue about finance, money, or taxes is laughing at you whenever you try to make this comparison. It is absurd and ridiculous. Hush Lemmings.
First, Trump’s taxes being under audit does not prevent him from releasing them. If you do not believe me, the IRS has said the same thing. Also, how would you apply for a bank loan? I hear those are fairly common in the real estate business. We also know his returns at least through 2008 have been closed out by the IRS, so he could easily disclose any or all of those. For any years still in question, it would be simple to release the first two pages of the 1040, along with the Schedule A. That would provide the majority of the information we are seeking with virtually no risk whatsoever. Even Richard Nixon released his returns while under audit. This entire excuse is just lame.
Next, why would he really want to hide them? His unending bogus charitable claims, his questionable ties to shady businessmen, drug dealers, felons, Russia anyone? It is possible his effective tax rate is so low, a few people might raise an eyebrow. This whole Blue Collar Billionaire bullshit never flew with me, but…it is also not out of the realm of possibility, given current tax laws favorable to the very rich, including real estate developers, Trump could pay NO income tax (this is like a permanent interest-free loan from Uncle Sam – read here if you want your head to explode).
Also, how much of his lifestyle is being subsidized by us? When I file my taxes, I am very careful about what I attribute to business versus personal expenses. How’s the household staff doing? Is that private jet upkeep all business? What percentage of your investments are kept off-shore? No they will not show his net worth, but we will be able to see his income, especially over a period of time. A lot of this has been in question, so the information has significant value.
Finally, Trump has had a few special excuses I just had to mention, mostly for the LOLZ.
“I’m being audited 12 years in a row, at least.” (The chances of this are almost non-existent, per the IRS.)
“Well, maybe because of the fact that I’m a strong Christian, and I feel strongly about it, maybe there’s a bias.” (Bless his heart.)
If you want to run the country, especially if you want to sell yourself on your business prowess, show us your goddamn returns.