Patterico's Pontifications

4/4/2019

Democrats Request Trump Tax Returns, As Apparently Allowed by Law

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:43 pm



Washington Post (h/t JVW):

The White House said Thursday that Democratic efforts to obtain President Donald Trump’s tax records are “political games.”

A House committee chairman formally asked the IRS Wednesday to provide six years of Trump’s personal tax returns and the returns for some of his businesses as Democrats try to shed light on his complex financial dealings and potential conflicts of interest.

The request by Massachusetts Rep. Richard Neal, who heads the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, is the first such demand for a sitting president’s tax information in 45 years. The unprecedented move is likely to set off a huge legal battle between Democrats controlling the House and the Trump administration.

Neal made the request Wednesday in a letter to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig, asking for Trump’s personal and business returns for 2013 through 2018. He asked for the documents in seven days, setting an April 10 deadline.

Trump told reporters Wednesday he “would not be inclined” to provide his tax returns to the committee. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Thursday morning that the White House “is not interested in playing a bunch of political games like the Democrats in Congress clearly want to spend their time doing.”

I’m not sure it matters whether Trump is inclined to provide his tax returns or not. At least facially, what appears to matter is whether the Chair of the Ways and Means Committee wants to see them. Here’s the text of 26 U.S.C. § 6103:

(f) Disclosure to Committees of Congress

(1) Committee on Ways and Means, Committee on Finance, and Joint Committee on Taxation

Upon written request from the chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives, the chairman of the Committee on Finance of the Senate, or the chairman of the Joint Committee on Taxation, the Secretary shall furnish such committee with any return or return information specified in such request, except that any return or return information which can be associated with, or otherwise identify, directly or indirectly, a particular taxpayer shall be furnished to such committee only when sitting in closed executive session unless such taxpayer otherwise consents in writing to such disclosure.

So it looks like the committee would have to sit in closed executive session, but I bet Richard Neal can make sure they do that.

Sure, it’s unprecedented, but so is not providing your tax returns as President, lying about the reason you won’t do it, the endless opportunities for foreign bribery of a President who maintains a financial interest in his companies, and a lot of other stuff. The point is, unless there is a mystery decision out there saying the language doesn’t mean what it appears to mean, the Democrats can do this.

And I think it’s great.

Let Trump and his fans howl. I don’t care. I think he’s a criminal and I think his tax returns are one of the keys to the box. As the old-time adventure video games would have said:

Obtain key. Use key. Open box.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

695 Responses to “Democrats Request Trump Tax Returns, As Apparently Allowed by Law”

  1. Corrupt intent.

    nk (dbc370)

  2. The request by Massachusetts Rep. Richard Neal, who heads the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, is the first such demand for a sitting president’s tax information in 45 years.

    Me doing the math and figuring out what year would be 45 years ago, who was President at the time, and what was the big news in the country at the time. Oh yeah.

    JVW (54fd0b)

  3. Nixon was the first, and it was by coercion. Ford refused — he only disclosed summaries of his returns. So the “precedent” starts with Carter, really.

    nk (dbc370)

  4. So Ways & Means have legally requested the IRS some of Trump’s tax returns– not Trump directly.

    Trump that, Captain, sir!?!

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  5. @2. Dust for jowl prints. 😉

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  6. I mean, it would be interesting to see, but everyone already knows he’s a horrible person. The people who don’t like Trump already figure he’s a tax cheat and those who like him don’t care one way or the other. Is anyone’s mind going to change because of his taxes?

    Nic (896fdf)

  7. Trump that, Captain, sir!?!

    (g) Disclosure to President and certain other persons
    (1) In general Upon written request by the President, signed by him personally, the Secretary shall furnish to the President, or to such employee or employees of the White House Office as the President may designate by name in such request, a return or return information with respect to any taxpayer named in such request. Any such request shall state—
    (A) the name and address of the taxpayer whose return or return information is to be disclosed,
    (B) the kind of return or return information which is to be disclosed,
    (C) the taxable period or periods covered by such return or return information, and
    (D) the specific reason why the inspection or disclosure is requested.

    nk (dbc370)

  8. @7. Secure the Galley — and which swabbo has that key to the foodlocker, Captain, sir;

    ‘First You Take A Leek’ – by Maxine Saltonstall

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  9. Then it should be no problem for the Senate Finance Committee to request the tax returns of every Democrat Congressman for the last 6 years as well.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  10. There is no requirement in the Constitution that any candidate disclose their income tax returns, and imposing that by state loses 5-4 to US Term Limits v Thornton, with the court liberals winning the day.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  11. Then it should be no problem for the Senate Finance Committee to request the tax returns of every Democrat Congressman for the last 6 years as well.

    This shouldn’t be a problem as I think they’re all a bunch of crooks, so open season on them, too. Sure, it’s a fishing expedition and wholly abusive of the 5th Amendment, but I’m not in law enforcement so my opinion doesn’t matter.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  12. Fourth Amendment, too.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  13. “I think it’s great” and “I don’t care” seem to be key to this.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  14. If what nk has written in comment 7 is correct, let’s see them all. What’s good for the half-a-buffoon is good for the ass clowns 🤡.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  15. Trump cheats at golf. Trump cheats on his wives, first, second and third. Trump cheats his contractors and investors. Is there any doubt he cheats on his taxes?

    Gawain's Ghost (b25cd1)

  16. Traditionally the President discloses his tax returns

    A) As pointed out above, the tradition isn’t that old, and only really starts with Nixon (who had his arm twisted) or Carter (who was an idiot).

    B) Traditions accumulate on the Presidency like barnacles on a shops hull. Most of them are stupid. The ‘Tradition’ of ‘Pardoning’ the White House Turkey is a fine example. Turkeys have only slightly more intelligence than broccoli. I hope and pray that I live to hear a {resident say of the White House Turkey, “Pardon?!? We’re going to axe him, pluck him, and roast him!”

    C) Since the level of Finance that most Presidents live at is over the heads of most voters, tax return disclosure by the President only provides ammunition to people lying about what the numbers mean. Is Trump hiding something? Possibly. Does he simply figure that the aggravation he’ll get by not releasing his returns is smaller then the pointless aggravation he’ll get if he DOES release them? That’s very possible, too.

    C. S. P. Schofield (f7316d)

  17. Like Eric holder honored the contempt request, in th
    e same round file, where he put his pushing for Purdue.

    narciso (d1f714)

  18. Besides the green nude eel, what exactly has this congress done?

    narciso (d1f714)

  19. If what nk has written in comment 7 is correct

    Here’s the entire text of 26 U.S.C. § 6103 linked by Patterico in the post. Section (g) that I quote is … you’ll never guess… right after Section (f) that Patterico quotes.

    nk (dbc370)

  20. Thanks. “Sure, it’s unprecedented, but so is not providing your tax returns as President,”

    So Nixon is where history began.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  21. A faint snicker, no howling yet.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  22. Wait, I thought hypocrites doing things for partisan reasons was bad?

    frosty48 (6226c1)

  23. Scumbags in power abuse power.

    It’s good to know that I will find no record of you ever having criticized a politician of abusing their position to target political opponents. Because if you did, that would make you a giant hypocrite, and you’re not a giant hypocrite, are you?

    frosty48 (6226c1)

  24. Sweet Baby Jesus… I get up early this morning, early dawn, look outside and notice the pool water is disturbed and then see to pair of ducks doing some sort of weird mating ritual swimdance, one pair in the pool, the other in the jacuzzi. We go to Arizona for 5 days and return to find the ducks have turned our humble abode into some kinda duck swingers party shack. Feeling a sense of kinky fascination combined with outrage, I grabbed my trust Cub BB rifle from the garage and confronted the libertines

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  25. Two pair

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  26. I think the tax returns can only be provided under conditions of confidentiality, (thats’s why executive session) but laws against disclosure of confidential information don’t apply to formal actions by members of Congress (but it could violate internal rules of the House or Senate.)

    Sammy Finkelman (385c0e)

  27. This is being done maybe more to satisfy the Democratic base, but not to do anything.

    Neal came up with general justifications, and he and his committee have got to promise not to tell anyone what he finds. They could propose changes in tax law, or how the IRS works, but are not supposed to tie it to any individual taxpayer.

    It could also be entered into the Congressional Record without legal oenalty.

    Sammy Finkelman (385c0e)

  28. Trump The President has wider discretion under Section (g). He could give as the stated reason “to investigate bribes to, and insider trading by, members of Congress”, and he does not need to do it in “closed session”. Snicker.

    nk (dbc370)

  29. He could also form a Presidential Commission on Congressional Corruption to do the actual poring through the returns, and call it PCCC for short. Snorfle.

    nk (dbc370)

  30. Is it duck season, coronello.

    Narciso (4f990b)

  31. Nope, but teh hens are apparently “in season”…

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  32. 30 and 31. If he did that, they could say that he’s doing what Nixon talked about (and one member at least of his administration even did a little) and what JFK did to Nixon and others – they wouldn’t say JFK – having the tax returns of political opponents audited. And that it’s abusive for a president to have anybody audited, and grounds for impeachment.

    What year was 26 U.S.C. § 6103 passed into law? (or the language in Sections (f) and (g)

    Trump’s excuse for not making his tax returns public is that they are being audited (he doesn’t explain why that should stop him. We could say he doesn’t want to make public anything that;s going to be disallowed or corrected)

    By law, the tax returns of the president and vice president are audited every year. This also happens with very rich people, and maybe taxpayers like Donald Trump, with a record of agreeing to changes in his tax returns after they are initially filed.

    Sammy Finkelman (385c0e)

  33. Section (f) (the Ways and Means Committee one) was enacted around the time of Teapot Dome in the 1920s, from what I’ve read.

    nk (dbc370)

  34. If this resulted in the release of tax returns and trading history for all Members of Congress, executive appointees, and senior staffers it would be awesome. By all means, let’s make as sure as possible that no one is hiding income, influence, or trading activity based on insider information. Let’s find out where the people making side money given speeches are getting their money from. Clinton’s speeches to Wall Street banks were 100% legal. Still hurt her politically because no on really believes that she’s being paid 250K just to give a speech.

    If all this does is force the president to release the last 6 years of his tax returns (something all of his predecessors in my lifetime have done) that would also be just fine.

    I already heard about how the democrat contenders are making stupid noises to avoid releasing their financial information…after all if Trump can get away with it why not Sanders/Warren/Harris/etc. Let’s put an end to that now.

    If your goal is Trump Uber Alles i can see why you wouldn’t like this.

    If your goal is less corruption and better transparency I don’t see why would oppose this.

    If your motivated by “Rule of law” well, the law says what it says. No problem here.

    Time123 (c9382b)

  35. That would be any time between 1923 and 1929.

    For a short period time around World War I, I think all federal income tax returns were made public. But that affected only substantially rich people,

    Sammy Finkelman (385c0e)

  36. 36… if ALL “public sector” employees are subject to it, I’ve no problem with it. I don’t think it’s really anyone’s business – should be between the taxpayer and the IRS – but let’s let sunshine work as a disinfectant Anyone working for federal/state/county/municipality government should be subject to The Rules and if not in place, enact them.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  37. Graft, bribery, gifts, cheating on taxes, insider trading, all of it.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  38. It is a question of corrupt intent. Which the House Democrats’ is. And so are they.

    nk (dbc370)

  39. “Sure, it’s unprecedented, but so is not providing your tax returns as President”

    Historically false.

    “lying about the reason you won’t do it, the endless opportunities for foreign bribery of a President who maintains a financial interest in his companies,”

    This wouldn’t be limited to tax returns, nor to presidents. It would include, say, an affair with a colleague, explicitly against policy, during an investigation. But, when in pursuit of a predetermined outcome (Trump’s a “criminal”, after all) you get cut some prosecutorial slack — especially when you’re one of the prosecutors.

    “and a lot of other stuff.”

    OK, guess that covers it!

    “And I think it’s great.”

    Is any other reason really necessary? Did the Dems need any other reason to go after Kavanaugh? Will they need any other reason to go after the next conservative?

    Munroe (84e316)

  40. “Historically false”. Wait… it’s a lie?

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  41. “When I look over this crowd, I see the backbone of the nation… I smell the hair… I feel the soft curve of the hips…”

    —- Joe Biden, 4/5/19

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  42. The other thing is, what would Congresscritters find that IRS auditors and Mueller’s two-year investigation have not? Nothing more than grist for the rumor mill.

    nk (dbc370)

  43. “I think he’s a criminal… his tax returns are one of the keys to the box.”

    Well, we know he’s a businessman.

    “Everybody has to pay taxes!- Even businessmen that rob and cheat and steal from people every day, even they have to pay taxes!” – Lennie Pike [Jonathan Winters] ‘It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World’ 1963

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  44. I have no issues with this.

    If anything, it’ll strengthen the precedent for future Presidents.

    whembly (51f28e)

  45. I don’t think the pro-Trump people are angry that Congress can get access to the tax returns. They aren’t even angry that Congress is asking for the tax returns.

    What they will be angry about is the leak of the tax returns, which is inevitable. Then thousands of amateur tax lawyers will be talking for the next two (ten, twenty) years about all the ways “Trump broke the law” by using lawyers with expertise in obscure real estate and property management trust tax rules.

    Xmas (eafb47)

  46. @43. The take away lines: “Permission to hug.” “Permission to touch him.”

    Now, can he interest you in a 1973 Buick? Low mileage; white walls, radio, heater… easy payments!

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  47. Joe Biden: Compassionate Deviancy !

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  48. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/193749.When_the_Air_Hits_Your_Brain

    A reminder: Biden has had two craniotomies.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  49. Kevin M — I would have zero problem with a rule that says that all federal elected officeholders *except Electors* must publish their tax returns for public review.

    (Electors are a special case, because they’re generally not professional politicians … but even then it wouldn’t be terribly hard to persuade me that the public interest in knowing where the people serving us get their income outweighs the privacy concerns of the elected officeholders).

    aphrael (3f0569)

  50. What they will be angry about is the leak of the tax returns, which is inevitable.

    But now we know how to deal with that:
    1. A special counsel appointed to investigate the leaks.
    2. A grand jury convened.
    3. Hundreds of subpoenas issued.
    4. Hundreds of people interviewed by the FBI.
    5. Reporters sent to jail for refusing to reveal their sources.
    6. Nobody indicted for leaking, but a couple or a couple of dozen indicted for lying to the grand jury or to the FBI.

    nk (dbc370)

  51. Trump cheats at golf. Trump cheats on his wives, first, second and third. Trump cheats his contractors and investors. Is there any doubt he cheats on his taxes?

    Is there any doubt that all those who say “so what” to the first two will be equally indulgent on the third?

    I recall stories about Bill Clinton cheating at golf, and how it was taken in certain quarters as proof that he can’t be trusted in anything. In the case of Trump, many people in those same quarters say “So what?” Or “GFY.”
    Every verbal gaffe by Obama was recited ad nauseam as evidence of his ignorance. When Trump makes statements so bizarre that they sound like incipient dementia, those who say he’s not right in the head are trashed as haters.

    The most disturbing thing about Trumpism is the willingness to discard any standard of judgment in order to maintain the illusion that Donald Trump is every bit as awesome as Donald Trump thinks he is.

    Radegunda (694c3c)

  52. I can’t count. That should have been “The first three …. the fourth.”

    Radegunda (694c3c)

  53. They already file financial disclosures, aphrael, listing their assets, their income, and their sources of income. Revealing tax returns is nothing more than a campaign gimmick, invented by Jimmy Carter, which the Democrats are trying to weaponize because Hitler was literally Trump.

    nk (dbc370)

  54. Pigeons are always in season

    mg (8cbc69)

  55. Non-apologetic, Huggy-Bear-Joey-Bee may have just tipped his hand outside the DC Hilton- admits the past week will have to ‘change how I campaign.’

    Then immediately backpaddles w/a word salad. Reporter asks: ‘What’s the hold up?’ Biden response: ‘What’s the hold up? Puttin’ everything together, man.’

    Hair plugs aside, after several crash-and-burn-runs, “puttin’ everything together” gets more difficult as you get older, eh, Joey Bee.

    Biden was elected to the U.S. Senate on November 7, 1972. Two weeks later, Walter Cronkite broadcast the first 15 minute segment on the CBS Evening News about something called “Watergate;” ‘All In The Family’ had been on the air less than a year; the Polaroid SX-70 was still months away from being sold in stores and the final moonshot, Apollo 17, was a month in the future.

    The Big Dick is dead; Cronkite is dead; Carroll O’Connor aka ‘Archie Bunker’ is dead; the Polaroid SX-70 is an antique– the original Polaroid Corporation went bankrupt in 2001 and Apollo 17 astronauts Gene Cernan and Ron Evans are dead.

    Now survey the world of 2019 and catalog what may be of use for the future from that era, aside from a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet. Don’t see Joey-Bee makin’ that list.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  56. If your goal is Trump Uber Alles i can see why you wouldn’t like this.

    If your goal is less corruption and better transparency I don’t see why would oppose this.

    If your motivated by “Rule of law” well, the law says what it says. No problem here.

    Great comment as per usual, Time123.

    Patterico (ee405a)

  57. I think Democrats are making a mistake though… as, this opens the door for the GOP to do the same thing.

    Hell…what’s to stop them from asking Congress critter’s tax returns?? Isn’t it amazing how many congress critters gain wealth whilst in office?

    whembly (fd57f6)

  58. Trump cheats at golf. Trump cheats on his wives, first, second and third. Trump cheats his contractors and investors. Is there any doubt he cheats on his taxes?

    Bingo. The first two are legal. The third, well you end up in lawsuits at a minimum. The fourth? You can go to prison.

    Manafort et al. show that a lot of people get away with a lot of stuff when nobody looks at them. Then they made the mistake, as long-time criminals, to go into very visible public life — evidently thinking: “I got away with it for this long, ergo I am invincible.”

    Trump has special reason to feel invincible, since he has an army of partisan lunkheads ready to defend literally anything he does, legal or not.

    This could result in nothing or it could be very bad for him. My money is on the latter. I know Beldar thinks Mueller already looked at his taxes but I am not so sure. I think Trump would have found out and gone apeshit.

    Patterico (ee405a)

  59. This shouldn’t be a problem as I think they’re all a bunch of crooks, so open season on them, too.

    I can’t see how requesting tax returns of people holding an impeachment power, done for openly obvious reasons of political retaliation, could lead to any problems.

    What Trumpist partisans may be missing is that there is already so much financial smoke — that the Trumpist partisans have routinely ignored — that there is plenty of reason for someone to invoke this already existing law. If for no reason other than national security.

    Patterico (ee405a)

  60. I recall stories about Bill Clinton cheating at golf, and how it was taken in certain quarters as proof that he can’t be trusted in anything. In the case of Trump, many people in those same quarters say “So what?” Or “GFY.”
    Every verbal gaffe by Obama was recited ad nauseam as evidence of his ignorance. When Trump makes statements so bizarre that they sound like incipient dementia, those who say he’s not right in the head are trashed as haters.

    The most disturbing thing about Trumpism is the willingness to discard any standard of judgment in order to maintain the illusion that Donald Trump is every bit as awesome as Donald Trump thinks he is.

    Spot on. It’s amazing how few people are able to see this very very very obvious point. Which makes it especially welcome to see it stated so clearly.

    Patterico (ee405a)

  61. Television makes or breaks. We’ve been treated to a cluster of multiple Democrat candidates and a non-yet-to-declare-candidate on the TeeVee today along w/Trump chopper chat as he winged westward to Calexico for a border photo op and by far the most engaging– and, yes, most entertaining– has been our Captain. The rest are left in the dust, cluster-fvcked. Half-kidding when saying the only living American who can defeat Trump with his own game [aside from himself]– is Oprah Winfrey.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  62. I can’t see how requesting tax returns of people holding an impeachment power, done for openly obvious reasons of political retaliation, could lead to any problems.

    Good point. Trump avoided “reaching towards his waist” with the Russian collusion SWATting and he needs to be careful with this “routine traffic stop” too.

    nk (dbc370)

  63. If you’re motivated by “Rule of law” well, the law says what it says. No problem here.

    If you’re motivated by “Rule of Law” you’re not on board with abusing your position for political gain or to attack opponents. Any day now I’m expecting someone to say we need to look at his taxes to find things that Congress can then make illegal so that they’ve got grounds for impeachment.

    frosty48 (6226c1)

  64. @66 How awesome would it be for Congress to impeach him for exercising his power to look at their taxes because they exercised their power to look at his? I would love to see that play out on the news.

    And by awesome I mean destructive to both branches. I really don’t think everyone going after Trump to save the republic see how much they are caught in the trap of destroying the village to save it. Does it give anyone any pause that your point rests on Trump being the one to exercise restraint?

    frosty48 (6226c1)

  65. Sure, it’s unprecedented, but so is not providing your tax returns as President, lying about the reason you won’t do it, the endless opportunities for foreign bribery of a President who maintains a financial interest in his companies, and a lot of other stuff. The point is, unless there is a mystery decision out there saying the language doesn’t mean what it appears to mean, the Democrats can do this.

    Presidents or presidential candidates providing their tax returns is nonsense. It’s used by supporters to show how generous a President/candidate is with charitable contributions; detractors use it to show how miserly a President/candidate is with charitable contributions. And on and on.

    That’s why President Trump is foolish to state reasons for not disclosing his returns other than “I’m not going to – and that’s it”.

    This comes across (to me) as nothing more than a Democrat “fishing expedition” to go through Trumps’s returns with a fine-toothed comb for election year fodder. But what concerns me most are tax returns or info in them being leaked – and we know that will happen. At that point, so much for confidentiality of tax returns – and all of us, even Presidents who act like impulsive children – are entitled to that confidentiality. We’ll see if he is accorded such.

    Cat Servant (ccf996)

  66. Cirmier and Leopold are back from under their rock

    narciso (d1f714)

  67. Of course and Rachel marrow already went mad there, maybe a little perspective is in order.

    narciso (d1f714)

  68. A New York attorney representing a wealthy art collector called and asked to speak to his client.

    “Saul, I have some good news and I have some bad news.”

    The art collector replied, “You know, I’ve had an awful day, Jack, so let’s hear the good news first.”

    The lawyer said, “Well, I met with your wife today, and she informed me that she has invested only $5,000 in two very nice pieces that she thinks will bring somewhere between $15 and $20 million… and I think she could be right”

    Saul replied enthusiastically, “Holy cow! Well done! My wife is a brilliant business woman, isn’t she? You’ve just made my day. Now, I know I can handle the bad news. What is it?”

    The lawyer replied, “The pieces are photos of you and your secretary…”

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  69. Does it give anyone any pause that your point rests on Trump being the one to exercise restraint?

    Such is life.

    nk (dbc370)

  70. And by awesome I mean destructive to both branches. I really don’t think everyone going after Trump to save the republic see how much they are caught in the trap of destroying the village to save it.

    Otherwise known as Draining the Swamp, Nuclear Option….

    kishnevi (9ce8ca)

  71. OT, but… https://twitter.com/jimantle/status/1114019593218084864

    Michael Tracey
    @mtracey
    Throughout this ordeal, it’s been truly disturbing to watch otherwise intelligent people lapse into conspiratorial lunacy. After Mueller said no collusion, you’d think they would at least begin to self-reflect and change their behavior. Nope. They’re just getting worse 6:47 AM · Apr 4, 2019

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  72. From a semi-pro perspective, props for the song parody though…

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  73. If you’re motivated by “Rule of Law” you’re not on board with abusing your position for political gain or to attack opponents. Any day now I’m expecting someone to say we need to look at his taxes to find things that Congress can then make illegal so that they’ve got grounds for impeachment.

    The ex post facto ban probably applies to impeachments. Or at least gives a reasonable out to every GOP senator looking for a reason to vote “not guilty”.

    But “pass a law so no one can use the gimmicks you used to avoid paying taxes” ought to pass muster.

    kishnevi (9ce8ca)

  74. @66 How awesome would it be for Congress to impeach him for exercising his power to look at their taxes because they exercised their power to look at his?

    It would be because they have a legitimate reason to (look at all the documented financial shenanigans and foreign payoffs), and he doesn’t — and he’s such an idiot that he would go around actually saying he’s doing it just to retaliate.

    The situations aren’t remotely comparable, and I think his doing it as pure retaliation would be impeachable.

    Patterico (ee405a)

  75. The recent revelations regarding his financial statements alone are sufficient cause to request his tax returns.

    I’d be shocked if this is the one area where he ever told the truth about his finances.

    Patterico (ee405a)

  76. Anyone else would be prosecuted for the stuff documented by the NYT on his past taxes, the stuff WaPo revealed about his financial statements, etc. There is literally almost no chance he didn’t commit tax fraud.

    Patterico (ee405a)

  77. @74. OT- Actually, the keen items to get a hold of are the 4 inch flight patches from the original manufacturer. FWIW, the maker hid each flight number in the stitching patterns for verification.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  78. 78. kishnevi (9ce8ca) — 4/5/2019 @ 11:34 am

    But “pass a law so no one can use the gimmicks you used to avoid paying taxes” ought to pass muster.

    They did that already during the Bush administation, I think, with eliominating a way to avoid adding back debt forgiveness to income.

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/beltway/2016/11/01/the-art-of-the-dodge-trumps-916-million-of-net-operating-losses/#2d6ca959128f

    Normally, taxpayers do not recognize income when they borrow funds. The logic is that while they increase their assets, their obligation to repay the debt increases their liabilities by the same amount. However, if taxpayers later are relieved of all or part of their obligation to repay, they generally must report the difference as income.

    In the early 1990s, Trump was in deep financial trouble and pressed his lenders to restructure his debt. But, based on documents filed in bankruptcy court, Trump did not report the income from restructuring his large public borrowings. He excluded the income despite reservations expressed by his own lawyers. We do not know whether the IRS ever challenged his position.

    At the time Trump renegotiated his loans, the law allowed some exceptions to reporting income from forgiveness of debt. One, since repealed, permitted a corporation to substitute its equity for outstanding debt on the grounds that the corporation was simply changing the form of its obligation from stock to bonds (the “stock-for-debt-exception”).

    Under the old law, some advisers sought to extend the corporate exception, by analogy, to a partnership that exchanged its equity for its outstanding debt (a “partnership-interest-for-debt” exception). But Trump took this argument even further: He claimed that as a partner, he didn’t have to report debt forgiveness as income even if his partnership exchanged new partnership interests for the debt of a separate corporation. In effect, Trump stretched the partnership-interest-for-debt exception, which was tenuous to begin with, to a partnership-interest for-someone-else’s-debt. the Forbes article goes on to describe this in more detail.

    I should look for something reporting this exact change in the law. I think I read it in about 2004.

    The law did not change the treatment of anything already in the past.

    Sammy Finkelman (102c75)

  79. This guy will wear any attempt to ‘impeach’ or ‘censure as a badge of honor and w/t current Senate- which is void of patriots- there’s no way he can lose, anyway. You’ve got a better chance of getting him OOO by just feeding him more chocolate cream pie and Quarter Pounders w/cheese.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  80. Serious question: it’s my understanding that Trump’s tax returns probably (definitely?) include [proprietary?] information with respect to multiple business entities, developments, and investments, such as LLCs, general and limited partnerships, multiple layers of corporate entities, and various combinations of the foregoing with third-party investors and funding mechanisms.
    If that is true, then do those other entities and/or private persons and/or financial institutions or funding groups or consortiums have any input into whether those returns should be disclosed to congressional committees/members?
    What safeguards might those third parties require and obtain to keep their tax information confidential? What recourse might they have in the event of leakage of such information and being put on public display?

    ColoComment (b48a15)

  81. Given the wide-open field, I wonder who the Democrats will settle on to run against Trump next year?

    I think it may end up being either Harris or Biden.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  82. You would need to find a tax lawyer to answer that question, CC. But my impression is that any third parties would not be directly involved. Trump’s returns would show income and payments to/from Corporation A, but not show who the investors in Corporation A are (unless they turned out to be wholly owned by Trump, in which case of course there would be no outside investors).Income and payments from individuals qua individuals would presumably show the names involved.

    It would then be up to investigators to try to obtain Corporation A’s financial records, which would presumably allow Corporation A a chance to fight the effort in court.

    kishnevi (9ce8ca)

  83. nk,

    Then in 2020 after almost 2 years of stories based on illegal and highly unethical leaks of Trump’s tax returns, Trump wins again because his supporters plus some more people who were on the fence are just angry at the same scumbags who do scumbag things and get away with it.

    Xmas (eafb47)

  84. Colo,

    According to this article, it’s likely that all of the business partners mentioned in Trump’s returns would be shell companies. And it would probably take some picking apart to determine which LLCs and other types of entities are owned in some way by Trump himself, since during the election, Trump’s FEC filings showed ownership of some 500 LLCs.

    Xmas (eafb47)

  85. @86. They’ll have to settle on the one which projects the smoothest and most entertaining messaging on television. Pick one that doesn’t sound shrill, preachy, milquetoasty or kvetching.

    Lotsa-luck. Paging Oprah… Paging Oprah…

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  86. 83. I prematurely ended the blockquote.

    Everything till:

    “In effect, Trump stretched the partnership-interest-for-debt exception, which was tenuous to begin with, to a partnership-interest for-someone-else’s-debt.”

    …is from Forbes. Everything after:

    “the Forbes article goes on to describe this in more detail.”

    …. is mine.

    Sammy Finkelman (102c75)

  87. The reason Senate Majority leader Harry Reid accuesed Mitt Romney, but did not accuse Donald trump of avoiding paying federal income taxes is that in the case of Trump, it was true (except for the effect of the Alternative Minimum Tax)

    Both allegations raised questions as to how Harry Reid knew. In both cases somebody would have had to break the law.

    But where somebody really did, there could be problems if this was looked into. Where it is all made up and a lie, there are fewer consequences.

    Sammy Finkelman (102c75)

  88. @86. Squeal w/delight: Virginia Ham just issued a press release from my freezer announcing an exploratory committee for a presidential run.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  89. Official House Ways and Means Committee letter to IRS Commissioner Charles P. Rettig requesting the tax retrns of Donald Trump and 8 relate entities; (PDF)

    https://waysandmeans.house.gov/sites/democrats.waysandmeans.house.gov/files/documents/Neal%20Letter%20to%20Rettig%20%28signed%29%20-%202019.04.03.pdf

    Neal Statement on Requesting President Trump’s Tax Returns (Apr 3, 2019 Press Release)

    https://waysandmeans.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/neal-statement-requesting-president-trump-s-tax-returns

    …“The IRS has a policy of auditing the tax returns of all sitting presidents and vice-presidents, yet little is known about the effectiveness of this program. On behalf of the American people, the Ways and Means Committee must determine if that policy is being followed, and, if so, whether these audits are conducted fully and appropriately. In order to fairly make that determination, we must obtain President Trump’s tax returns and review whether the IRS is carrying out its responsibilities….

    …We have completed the necessary groundwork for a request of this magnitude and I am certain we are within our legitimate legislative, legal, and oversight rights.

    “I take the authority to make this request very seriously, and I approach it with the utmost care and respect. 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. My actions reflect an abiding reverence for our democracy and our institutions, and are in no way based on emotion of the moment or partisanship

    Sammy Finkelman (102c75)

  90. A ham did take down Paula Deen, so why the hell not?

    urbanleftbehind (5eecdb)

  91. Ohio just oscillates back into silliness after outliving the mailman’s son.

    urbanleftbehind (5eecdb)

  92. It would be because they have a legitimate reason to (look at all the documented financial shenanigans and foreign payoffs), and he doesn’t — and he’s such an idiot that he would go around actually saying he’s doing it just to retaliate.

    The situations aren’t remotely comparable, and I think his doing it as pure retaliation would be impeachable.

    There is as yet no legitimate reason to look since all the documented financial shenanigans and foreign payoffs are merely speculation. Neal’s stated goal isn’t to look at all the documented financial shenanigans and foreign payoffs specifically but to review the IRS policy on auditing sitting presidents. If Trump has a plausible fig leaf like Neal does that make these remotely comparable?

    frosty48 (6226c1)

  93. “Anyone else would be prosecuted….”
    Patterico (ee405a) — 4/5/2019 @ 11:55 am

    A comical way to start an anti-Trump comment.

    Have we learned nothing from the past three years?

    Munroe (13e024)

  94. Ok, I really feel like I owe everyone an apology. I’ve really got egg on my face on this one. I went back and checked and sure enough;

    The President, […] of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, shenanigans, being a cotton headed ninny muggins, or other things we really don’t like.

    frosty48 (6226c1)

  95. “High crimes and Misdemeanors” = “other things we really don’t like.”

    Has anyone got a better definition?

    Sammy Finkelman (102c75)

  96. 97. Outliving?

    Sammy Finkelman (102c75)

  97. Good news for Trumpsters, literally- lots and lots of local TeeVee coverage by NBC and ABC affiliates of Trump’s photo-op-run-to-the-border at Calexico and El Centro. “Good” news for 405 commuters in and around LAX, this evening, too: Trump jetting AF1 up to LA for GOP fundraiser– a motorcade would be jusssssst great for Friday evening rush hour traffic.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  98. I would have zero problem with a rule that says that all federal elected officeholders *except Electors* must publish their tax returns for public review.

    You cannot add to the requirements of office for constitutional offices (executive, legislative and some judicial). I also think it’s a bad idea, as it exposes 3rd parties (partners, LLCs, employers, contractors, etc) to public “review”, not to mention political retaliation.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  99. Trump cheats at golf. Trump cheats on his wives, first, second and third. Trump cheats his contractors and investors. Is there any doubt he cheats on his taxes?

    Noone can throw you in jail for cheating at golf, on wives (adultery laws aren’t enforced). If he cheats his contractors and investors, they haven’t made a case yet. Does he cheat on his taxes? He’s audited every year, and I bet HOUSES New York would have called him on it by now.

    Nixon didn’t cheat on his taxes either.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  100. Patterico, do you honestly believe that New York State (or NYC) doesn’t audit Trump every year? Not to mention the IRS. Or that they would sign off on a fraudulent return? Because if you do, you aren’t being rational about it.

    Now, Hillary could get away with all those things, and probably does, but Trump works under a microscope.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  101. Be gentle.

    * Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley accused the special counsel’s office of mischaracterizing Trump campaign emails in a way that suggested Trump advisers were eager to meet with Russians.

    * In a newly released letter from 2017, Grassley accused Robert Mueller’s team of feeding “speculation and innuendo” in court filings in 2017 in the case against George Papadopoulos.

    * The letter takes on new significance in the wake of reports that Mueller prosecutors were upset over Attorney General William Barr’s characterization of the findings of the 22-month long probe.

    The special counsel’s office fed “speculation and innuendo” about possible collusion with Russia by withholding key details from emails cited in a court filing in the case of former Trump adviser George Papadopoulos, a top Republican senator alleged in a newly released letter.

    “The public deserves to have the full context for the information the Special Counsel chooses to release. The glaring lack of it feeds speculation and innuendo that distorts the facts,” Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley wrote to special counsel Robert Mueller on Oct. 16, 2017.

    https://dailycaller.com/2019/04/05/mueller-grassley-innuendo-papadopoulos/

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  102. Rational? FFS.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  103. avoiding paying federal income taxes

    There is nothing illegal about avoiding federal income taxes. Many people do it every time they put money in a 401(k). EVADING taxes is another matter. As we shall eventually see, Trump pays through the nose on AMT and nearly everything he files is mooted by that.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  104. Give! Give, until you can give no more.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  105. I think it may end up being either Harris or Biden.

    I’m betting on Mayor Buttgag.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  106. @89, 94.
    Yes, if the tax return requests are limited to properties such as the Bedminster entities (as in the linked letter), then it’s likely that they are all, as you say, “shell” companies: LLCs respectively formed to acquire, develop, and manage specific functions related to the Bedminster golf club.

    ColoComment (b48a15)

  107. “If he cheats his contractors and investors, they haven’t made a case yet.”

    My dude, how do you not know this?

    Donald Trump often portrays himself as a savior of the working class who will “protect your job.” But a USA TODAY NETWORK analysis found he has been involved in more than 3,500 lawsuits over the past three decades — and a large number of those involve ordinary Americans, like the Friels, who say Trump or his companies have refused to pay them.

    At least 60 lawsuits, along with hundreds of liens, judgments, and other government filings reviewed by the USA TODAY NETWORK, document people who have accused Trump and his businesses of failing to pay them for their work. Among them: a dishwasher in Florida. A glass company in New Jersey. A carpet company. A plumber. Painters. Forty-eight waiters. Dozens of bartenders and other hourly workers at his resorts and clubs, coast to coast. Real estate brokers who sold his properties. And, ironically, several law firms that once represented him in these suits and others.

    Trump’s companies have also been cited for 24 violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act since 2005 for failing to pay overtime or minimum wage, according to U.S. Department of Labor data. That includes 21 citations against the defunct Trump Plaza in Atlantic City and three against the also out-of-business Trump Mortgage LLC in New York. Both cases were resolved by the companies agreeing to pay back wages.

    In addition to the lawsuits, the review found more than 200 mechanic’s liens — filed by contractors and employees against Trump, his companies or his properties claiming they were owed money for their work — since the 1980s. The liens range from a $75,000 claim by a Plainview, N.Y., air conditioning and heating company to a $1 million claim from the president of a New York City real estate banking firm. On just one project, Trump’s Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City, records released by the New Jersey Casino Control Commission in 1990 show that at least 253 subcontractors weren’t paid in full or on time, including workers who installed walls, chandeliers and plumbing.”

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2016/06/09/donald-trump-unpaid-bills-republican-president-laswuits/85297274/

    Davethulhu (fab944)

  108. If Trump is correct in saying he is constantly under audit… and he probably is somewhere by some entity around the globe. Maybe not always by the IRS.

    The strategies and structure of legal tax avoidance are complex and never ending… ask the Kennedy’s.

    Trump would probably already be in trouble if he was evading. Too many smart people looking into his business hunting for too much money for him to get away with anything intentional.

    More likely he has some incredibly complex structures, trusts etc (again, see the Kennedy’s sale of the Merchandise Mart in Chicago for details. Joseph Kennedy paid 13M for it in 1940’s and when the Kennedy’s sold it in 1998 paid little or no taxes legally). The Democrats won’t even try to understand the strategy or discuss legality. They’ll just concentrate on all the taxes he isn’t paying due to his lawyers and accountants expertise.
    My guess is that the Clintons, Obamas, Bidens, Warrens etc all use similar strategies to Trump, with the differences being situational or in Trumps case, weighted heavy on real estate tax avoidance.

    The strategy will be to characterize legal avoidance as illegal evasion, or at a minimum, they’ll decry it as “immoral”.
    Why would anyone put themselves through that? Its not like the media is going to be fair, they are all auditioning for the USA version of Pravda anyway.

    If I was looking for dirt on Trump, real estate developer in Americas Democrat controlled urban areas, I’d look to see if he expensed any otherwise legal “payoffs” to politicians, officials, bureaucrats and union bosses, but if my interest was politically motivated, I might have to be careful who got exposed because Trump is no fool and he probably has dirt of a lot of people.
    I’ve heard any number of people say Trump is dirty, “he lies down with dogs and gets fleas” but dogs that fight with each other transfer fleas too and Trump is a fighter and in one sense plays the two level game of fighting in the public arena and cooperating behind the scenes.

    Long story short, I think Trump comes up OK on an audit, but the Democrats will all pop smoke and say there must be a fire

    steveg (e7a56b)

  109. Suing and “making their case” are two different things. And sure, he loses some suits, wins others, so some do “make their case” but it isn’t necessarily cheating, it’s “business disputes.”

    Trump chooses to do business differently than I would — it seems like an unnecessary strain — but I don’t have to do business with him, either. I’ve never claimed he was an honest man, just that he’s not had anything proved against him that would land him in jail and I doubt he would take that kind of chance.

    So, I expect his THOROUGHLY AUDITED tax returns to be squeaky-clean. Since he pays AMT there’s not a lot of wiggle-room.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  110. I forgot to include Beto’s father in law in the group of Democrats who use every tax avoidance strategy known to man (and when in doubt pay smart people to invent a new one)

    steveg (e7a56b)

  111. Hillary Clinton could write “I am lying” on her tax return and no one would bat an eye.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  112. I also wonder if NYC democrats really want all 14M pages off Cohens hard drive publicized.
    Lanny Davis could be up for torpedoing his own party, maybe Clintons, Schumer, in order to help his client get a better deal?
    Nah. Davis is too partisan for that

    steveg (e7a56b)

  113. @ Cat Servant, who wrote (#69):

    Presidents or presidential candidates providing their tax returns is nonsense. It’s used by supporters to show how generous a President/candidate is with charitable contributions; detractors use it to show how miserly a President/candidate is with charitable contributions. And on and on.

    Certainly political opponents can and will make partisan use of anything revealed in tax returns or return information.

    I’m entirely okay with that. It’s called holding the other side accountable. This is not a bug, this is a feature — and the point isn’t all about, or even mostly about, charitable contributions!

    Rather, the purpose of having public servants — and candidates to become public servants — release their tax returns is to demonstrate their compliance with the tax laws, the deliberate and substantial violation of which all rational voters should deem to be a factor weighing against entrusting the violator with the public trust inherent in public office. It is fair to presume that someone who cheats the government and his fellow citizens on his taxes will likewise use the opportunities available to public servants to line their own pockets by further cheating.

    *****

    Our host wrote (#61):

    Bingo. The first two [cheating at golf and cheating on one’s spouse] are legal. The third [cheating on one’s contractors and investors], well you end up in lawsuits at a minimum. The fourth [cheating on one’s taxes]? You can go to prison.

    I doubt that the release of Trump’s taxes to Congress or to the public would materially increase Trump’s practical legal jeopardy to fines or imprisonment.

    Before I dropped his class, my professor in my federal income tax course in law school — a capable fellow with the remarkable name, for a tax lawyer, of “Joe Dodge” — explained to us that tax evasion is a crime, but tax avoidance is a civic duty.

    That’s actually a bit of a stretch, but it’s certainly true that no rational, lawful profit maximizer wishes to pay more in taxes than he legally must, and that in general we may structure our business transactions in ways that take advantage of whatever loopholes, asymmetries, and oddities the existing law permits.

    What I suspect the release of the Trump Organization’s tax returns and return information — including Trump’s personal tax returns and return information — would reveal is an extremely, consistently aggressive pattern of attempted tax avoidance, but no obvious and unequivocal tax evasion. There will be a purported justification — essentially an excuse, even if a chickensh!t excuse — for every line item, every deduction, every loss carry-forward, every credit. And the nature of Trump’s business — originally real estate, now mostly licensing his name — necessarily involves highly subjective evaluations that, in turn, create spectacular opportunities for aggressive tax avoidance.

    I do not believe this will swing many votes either way. But I am frankly glad for the precedent it will set, to the effect that modern-day presidents and candidates for president can’t just stonewall (the way Trump has) to get away with hiding the financial (including but not limited to tax) details of their personal situations.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  114. “he’s not had anything proved against him that would land him in jail and I doubt he would take that kind of chance.”

    This is some major league goalpost shifting.

    Davethulhu (fab944)

  115. Here’s Steve Reilly’s Twitter feed… https://twitter.com/bystevereilly?lang=en

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  116. I am, however, as yet unpersuaded by the last sentence in this assertion from our host (#81):

    Anyone else would be prosecuted for the stuff documented by the NYT on his past taxes, the stuff WaPo revealed about his financial statements, etc. There is literally almost no chance he didn’t commit tax fraud.

    That’s a substantial overreach, I think — one which relies on guesswork. Trump enjoys a constitutional presumption of innocence unless and until convicted, not by the NYT or the WaPo, but in a court of law after due process that places the burden of proof on his accusers, no burden of proof upon him, and proof of guilt (including, for fraud, proof of specific criminal intent) beyond a reasonable doubt.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  117. Hi, I’m Colonel Haiku

    *posts a Daily Caller article*

    *attacks another poster’s source*

    Davethulhu (fab944)

  118. The NYT… if it isn’t them, it’s the Wash Post… next in line is USA Today… if not there, it’s CNN… if not there, try MSNBC… or try NBC… or CBS… or ABC… sometimes you’ll see the same story reported on all and sometimes line for line. It’s a remarkable coincidence. On a repetitive basis.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  119. The NYT and the Wash Post used to be considered to be suitable for lining birdcages immediately after picking them up from the driveway, like the LA Times. But that was before Trump.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  120. Posting a Twitter feed is attacking a source? On what planet?

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  121. I am utterly unimpressed with any complaints from third parties who’ve done business with the Trump Organization that their own privacy rights might be compromised in some way by the release of information that the IRS has about the Trump Organization.

    If you choose to do business with the likes of Donald Trump, you knowingly undertake the risk of future embarrassment.

    A particular subset of idiots at Deutsche Bank have now been exposed as shallow, incompetent celebrity worshipers instead of prudent bankers. They personally, and Deutsche Bank as their employer, deserves every bit of ridicule they get over their history with Trump.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  122. Congress does not assess tax liability, and it does not investigate tax evasion or unlawful sources of income. The Treasury and Justice Departments do. If those are the reasons Ways and Means wants Trump’s returns, their request is patently illegal. We don’t even need to guess at corrupt motive.

    nk (dbc370)

  123. The raison d’être for every major accounting firm, and for the tax departments at every major law firm — pretty much worldwide now — is tax avoidance.

    It might be that public production of Trump’s tax returns and return information would reveal that the tax avoidance advisers upon whom he’s relied are of the same level of competency as the legal counsel he chose to deal with his bimbo eruptions, the Hon. Michael Cohen, Esq. (soon to be Federal Inmate No. 19381-032 in a correctional facility full of mutts just like him).

    But Trump’s daddy made the fortune that Trump inherited through real estate deals that would have been impossible but for — and in most cases, were created specifically to take aggressive advantage of — tax avoidance strategies for the acquisition, use, and disposition of real estate. I suspect Trump’s tax advisers and lawyers since at least the early 1990s (after Citicorp and other creditors used his defaulted-upon personal guarantees to excise his testicles and preserve them in a Lucite deal toy) have been at least somewhat more competent than Mr. Cohen, and there’s no doubt at all that their entire professional focus has been on riding the margins of the boundaries between tax avoidance and tax evasion.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  124. @112. All you have to do is go back and review his vote percentages when he soloed and how quickly he crashed and burned as a younger man in earlier primaries– and why– against a field of fewer candidates. He was plucked to be Veep and rode in on Obama’s coattails– not his own. If he had the presidential balls he’d have sucked it up, wrestled the nom from the Clintons and run in 2016. Problems managing personal issues re just another burden w/him; acceptable in the ‘Average Joe’ but a problem the nation don’t need in a president. Other issues aside, personally suspect he’s somewhat emotionally unstable; he won’t last past three primaries if he does drop the nickel on a run.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  125. The sickness runs deep…

    @BillKristol
    I say this as a conservative…and as a Republican: So far it is unambiguously a good thing that Democrats took the House. We’ve paid no price in bad legislation becoming law, and the gains in executive branch accountability and support for the rule of law have been important.
    6:22 AM · Apr 5, 2019

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  126. @132. Kristol’s still playing at being ‘Malcolm Crowe.’ Has he even seen The Sixth Sense???

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  127. Does Kristol write for Mother Jones?

    mg (8cbc69)

  128. Howard Schulz probably has the good sense not to take Bill Kristol’s calls, but what the hey was Schiltz doing being feted on Fox and Friends this morning?

    urbanleftbehind (9ef896)

  129. Moreover, @112, would this be Mayor Pete’s theme music as he accepts the nomination?

    urbanleftbehind (9ef896)

  130. Come to think of it, Justice Roberts, Joe Donnelly, and Pete Buttigieg may not portend well with regard to the outcomes decided by a future Justice Coney Barrett. At least the OKI axis at the other end of the state and across the Ohio Riverredeems itself from time to time.

    urbanleftbehind (9ef896)

  131. 136… he wish s… 137… what… him worry?

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  132. This is a hard one. I have no doubt Trump’s a swindler and a cheater and that many if not most of the commenters here would be cheering and getting out their pitchforks if either of the Clintons were in a similar situation. The anti Trumpist in me says “git him.” But something about it seems wrong. There should be a higher … I can’t think of the word I want. Bar. For going after somebody like this. Unless we know Trump commited a crime and there is evidence hiding in the tax returns, they ought to be off limits. Just because we can do something doesn’t mean we should.

    JRH (8f59ea)

  133. Good on them, but now go get Smollett.
    http://abc7chicago.com/man-accused-of-claiming-to-be-timmothy-pitzen-charged/5235085/

    urbanleftbehind (9ef896)

  134. That has to be the most distressing moment in recent memory, to toy with a parents memories like thar.

    Narciso (f65a0e)

  135. Extra! Extra! Read all About it! 23-year Old Nutjob Thought He Could Pass As 14-year Old! Extra! Extra!

    I dunno what’s worse. Fake news or non-news elevated into national drama.

    nk (dbc370)

  136. And here is very likely the real reason Trump fired Sessions and hired Barr. https://www.cnn.com/2019/04/05/politics/william-barr-attorney-general-low-morale-doj-lgbtq/index.html

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that, or that it justifies his harassment by the House Dems.

    nk (dbc370)

  137. Back to that old Roy Cohn boy toy theory, eh, nk?

    urbanleftbehind (9ef896)

  138. Snorfle.

    nk (dbc370)

  139. Isnt relying on CNN, an illustration of einstein’s definition of insanity.

    Narciso (f65a0e)

  140. 144…. give them some performance objectives and requirements that must be met to keep their jobs, maybe that will help provide some motivation.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  141. IOW, a dose of reality.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  142. There’s room for disagreement, but if the House wanted a better reason to obtain Trump’s tax records, they could cite the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution.

    Paul Montagu (d49d0a)

  143. McNutt? Ονομα και πραγμα.

    nk (dbc370)

  144. Democrats are trying to poison the well under the disguise of law. Yet if Trump returns the favor, some claim it’s an impeachable offense.

    No wonder we are no longer ruled by laws, just by power hungry men.

    No different than our wannabe black-robed oligarchy that thinks their personal desires have the force of the law. The most recent example being:

    https://pjmedia.com/trending/activist-judge-throws-out-trump-executive-order-to-restore-obama-drilling-ban/#comments

    NJRob (34aee0)

  145. So what else will the Texas leg let slide, you see how the progs get their wish in new York and califirnis and Illinois,

    narciso (d1f714)

  146. What’s the phrade’thats not who we are’ rob, this in kind contribution to the kingdom Russia and Venezuela are incidental.

    narciso (d1f714)

  147. There are good reasons for not having permitless carry in some states. Here’s one, his name is Joshua Gonzalez: https://nypost.com/2019/04/05/man-arrested-for-fatal-road-rage-shooting-of-10-year-old-girl/

    nk (dbc370)

  148. What a horrible story.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  149. I must have missed it but is there a pretext for seeing his taxes?

    AZ Bob (885937)

  150. It is, maybe he should have been in prison, when did he acquire the weapon?

    narciso (d1f714)

  151. What a bunch of schiffheels…

    “Congressional Democrats are now going after President Trump’s tax returns. It’s their latest attempt to punish President Trump for beating Hillary Clinton and for ruining their favorite conspiracy by not colluding with the Ruskies. The hypocritical part of the Democrat’s request is same members of Congress asking for Trump’s returns have kept their own returns a secret despite a request from reporters from a major D.C. newspaper covering Congress, Roll Call.

    On Thursday, House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) sent a letter to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig, asking for Trump’s personal and business returns for 2013 through 2018. He asked for the documents in seven days, setting an April 10 deadline.

    If releasing tax returns is so essential to Rep. Neal, why doesn’t he release HIS tax returns to voters? He didn’t he even respond to Roll Call when they asked for his tax returns in 2017. Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) also on the committee didn’t release his returns or respond to Roll Call.

    Fifteen other Democrats on the Ways and Means committee refused the Roll Call request to share their returns. Reps who had already shared their returns elsewhere were marked as providing them to Roll Call:

    Lloyd Doggett (D-TX)
    Mike Thompson (D-CA)
    John Larson (D-CT)
    Earl Blumenauer (D-OR)
    Ron Kind (D-WI)
    Linda Sanchez (D-CA)
    Brian Higgins (D-NY)
    Terri Sewell (D-AL)
    Suzan DelBene (D-WA)
    Judy Chu (D-CA)
    Gwen Moore (D-WI)
    Dan Kildee (D-MI)
    Don Beyer (D-VA)
    Dwight Evans (D-PA)
    Stephanie Murphy (D-FL)
    In total, seventeen out of twenty-five Democratic members of the committee asking the IRS for Trump’s tax returns didn’t share theirs.”

    https://lidblog.com/rep-neal-tax-returns/

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  152. 158… because Orange Man Bad, mooks loathe him and back-benchers have it out for him. They’re not bothered by the pretext used and criminal activity of the nation’s top intelligence and law enforcement, they think that case is “overstated, to say the least”.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  153. Blumenauer the death panels guy, Sanchez before Aoc she was the professional idiot. Moore who’s son slashes the tires of Republicans the rest are ciphers.

    Narciso (f65a0e)

  154. Steph Murphy’s not kin to the guy who couldn’t beat Rubio? She tries to have it both ways.

    And Linda makes us suffer for her being the fat sister of Loretta.

    urbanleftbehind (9ef896)

  155. No shes not shes worse, although not at Allen grayson level, that no 23 the larch

    Narciso (f65a0e)

  156. The Sanchez sisters are graduates of my high school in Anaheim, Ca. So’s Ed Royce.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  157. At least the CIA/FBI put together some phony evidence to spy on his team. Can’t they plant something on him to make a pretext for his tax returns?

    AZ Bob (885937)

  158. I got it. Harry Reid can come out and say he has information that Trump hasn’t paid his taxes in the last 10 years.

    AZ Bob (885937)

  159. Such cynicism! Such lack of faith in our elected officials! How can you possibly believe that our selfless, dedicated Representatives in Congress would waste their precious time and the taxpayers’ money if Trump was not really guilty?

    nk (dbc370)

  160. Anarchists!

    nk (dbc370)

  161. “I must have missed it but is there a pretext for seeing his taxes?”
    AZ Bob (885937) — 4/5/2019 @ 8:31 pm

    Did you miss the “I don’t care.” part of the post?

    Munroe (284e94)

  162. 81

    Anyone else would be prosecuted for the stuff documented by the NYT on his past taxes, …

    Wasn’t that stuff way past the statue of limitations and mostly about his father’s returns in any case?

    James B. Shearer (92a19f)

  163. … The point is, unless there is a mystery decision out there saying the language doesn’t mean what it appears to mean, the Democrats can do this.

    The Supreme Court can rule as it likes and I expect they will decide that they don’t want their own tax returns made public.

    James B. Shearer (92a19f)

  164. 94

    …“The IRS has a policy of auditing the tax returns of all sitting presidents and vice-presidents, yet little is known about the effectiveness of this program. On behalf of the American people, the Ways and Means Committee must determine if that policy is being followed, and, if so, whether these audits are conducted fully and appropriately. In order to fairly make that determination, we must obtain President Trump’s tax returns and review whether the IRS is carrying out its responsibilities….

    This is absurd. If this was their real concern they would also be requesting the returns and audit records of Pence and Obama and Biden and so on.

    James B. Shearer (92a19f)

  165. 170… don’t forget the “I think it’s great”…

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  166. What Trumpist partisans may be missing is that there is already so much financial smoke — that the Trumpist partisans have routinely ignored — that there is plenty of reason for someone to invoke this already existing law. If for no reason other than national security.

    Do you actually consider yourself non-partisan with respect to Trump? Really?

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  167. Of note, but off topic: Today in Guedes v. BATFE, a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit affirmed — per curiam, and over a dissent — the district court’s refusal to enjoin the BATFE’s new bump stock regulation pending appeals from the challenges to that regulation that the district court had rejected. Key holding:

    Applying Chevron, we determine that the statutory definition of “machinegun” is ambiguous and the Bureau’s interpretation is reasonable. The plaintiffs therefore are unlikely to succeed on the merits of their claim that the Rule is out of step with the statutory definition.

    Judge Karen Henderson dissented in part:

    Unlike my colleagues, I believe the Bump Stock Rule does contradict the statutory definition and, respectfully, part company with them on this issue.

    Her dissent is quite lengthy and repeats all of the procedural history that’s in the per curiam opinion, which suggests to me that it was originally drafted by her in hopes of picking up another vote to become a majority opinion (instead of a dissent). Her argument regarding the statutory language “single function of the trigger” is different than any I’ve read in prior briefing, and my first read-through of it leaves me utterly unpersuaded: I think she’s grafting language of her own making into the reg to create a purported conflict with the underlying statutory language by playing fast and loose with the word “function” in the statutory phrase “single function of the trigger.” But that’s a first impression, and the plaintiffs surely must be much heartened by her dissent.

    The plaintiffs’ next likely step is to ask the SCOTUS to overrule the district and circuit courts and to instead stay the operation of the regulation pending appeal. There are tons of hotly contested issues, however, having nothing to do with bump stocks per se, but instead with Chevron deference, the propriety of criminalizing for the future something that the BATFE had previously explicitly condoned, and even the process and timing through which Bill Barr has taken over Jeff Sessions’ position as Attorney General.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  168. It is pretty blind to think that the Democrat Congress is doing this for any reason other than to leak it immediately. That the actual documents cannot be taken out of the room doesn’t matter, and is probably a feature. That way they can CLAIM any damn thing they want (like they did to Romney) and Trump’s sole remedy is to release the returns himself.

    Since their stated reason is to “ensure that high officials pay their taxes” they open the door to the same requests of themselves. Let’s start with Maxine Waters.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  169. I do not believe this will swing many votes either way. But I am frankly glad for the precedent it will set, to the effect that modern-day presidents and candidates for president can’t just stonewall (the way Trump has) to get away with hiding the financial (including but not limited to tax) details of their personal situations.

    Why should they have to release their taxes? If they don’t, and you really don’t like it, vote for someone else. It cannot be MADE a requirement for office, and this chickensh1t move by the Democrat Congress is one more battleground in the open warfare that replaced the now-long-lost comity of yesteryear.

    Congress’ stated goal is to ensure that Trump pays his taxes, yet these returns have been repeatedly audited by two and probably three levels of government. It’s absurd.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  170. @ Kevin M, who wrote (#178):

    Why should they [i.e., modern-day presidents and candidates for president] have to release their taxes? If they don’t, and you really don’t like it, vote for someone else. It cannot be MADE a requirement for office and this chickensh1t move by the Democrat Congress is one more battleground in the open warfare that replaced the now-long-lost comity of yesteryear.
    Requiring financial disclosures of candidates has been repeatedly upheld by the federal courts. If you’re going to persuade me that Congress can’t do this, you’re going to need to cite me to some cases to support your theory, because my current impression is that you’re 100% wrong about this. If Congress said, “Presidential candidates must have a net worth of $500k+ to be eligible,” I could see your argument. That’s not this.

    Jefferson didn’t call for the public release of John Adams’ federal income taxes — or vice versa — only because there was no federal income tax then. I don’t know of any principle of comity in presidential election campaigns to the effect that tax returns are off limits, and to the contrary, there’s a fairly long 20th and early 21st Century history of candidates releasing at least some of their tax returns, which opposing political parties in turn exploit as best they can. What’s new is only Trump’s brazen, egotistical defiance of political tradition and, especially, his supporters’ eagerness to support him in that charade — the former of which being a source of no surprise, and the latter of which is a source of extreme disappointment to me when I consider the state of our nation.

    I am not leveling this accusation at anyone in particular. But I am nevertheless certain that some substantial number of Trump supporters would think it’s a good and great thing, an example of Trump’s alpha maleness and tough-guy persona, if he in fact has cheated on his taxes and gotten away with it. Their only dissatisfaction is that they can’t do the same.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  171. Ooops, blew a blockquote closing tag there. The text beginning at the paragraph which begins “Requiring financial disclosures ….” obviously should’ve been back to the left margin, as something I am writing rather than a quote attributable to the estimable Kevin M.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  172. Were I czar, I would require all candidates for elected federal office to disclose not only their tax returns for at least five years, but also all financial statements (including balance sheets, P&Ls, and related data) that they have submitted to any lending institution covered by 18 U.S.C. § 1014 (which includes almost all banks, S&Ls, credit unions, brokerages, etc.) The current financial disclosure requirements are too vague, too loose, and too easy to manipulate — as Trump has demonstrated.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  173. Surely voters for candidates for public office should be entitled to the same rigorous financial disclosures as publicly traded companies have under the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and their respective regulations. We know a whole lot more about Exxon’s finances than Trump’s, and that frankly ought to be the other way around in my opinion.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  174. @ Patterico, who wrote (#61):

    Manafort et al. show that a lot of people get away with a lot of stuff when nobody looks at them. Then they made the mistake, as long-time criminals, to go into very visible public life — evidently thinking: “I got away with it for this long, ergo I am invincible.”

    Trump has special reason to feel invincible, since he has an army of partisan lunkheads ready to defend literally anything he does, legal or not.

    This could result in nothing or it could be very bad for him. My money is on the latter. I know Beldar thinks Mueller already looked at his taxes but I am not so sure. I think Trump would have found out and gone apesh!t.

    Why would Mueller have looked at Manafort’s tax returns and other financial information available through federal agencies — closely enough to develop evidence sufficient to convict him on eight counts of filing false tax returns, failure to disclose offshore accounts, and bank fraud — but not Trump’s?

    My working assumption is that Trump’s lawyers unanimously told him, within hours of Mueller’s appointment if not before, that the DoJ and FBI almost certainly already had full access to everything the Treasury Department, including the IRS, has ever had in any of their files about Trump or the Trump Organization — either simply for the asking (for tax returns) from a sister agency or after an ex parte showing of probable cause to a friendly magistrate (for return information and probably some other agency-held info) — and that there was nothing Trump could do about that. They would have tried to calm him by saying that the IRS’ auditors already were looking at all the same stuff anyway since he was already under audit and, by definition, on their radar screens (unlike Manafort and others who’ve gotten away, at least for a long time, with their own tax fraud so long as they stayed in the shadows).

    I’m inclined to give deference — not exactly Chevron deference, but substantial deference anyway! — to speculation from you or nk or others with criminal law experience that I emphatically lack.

    But are you postulating that Mueller never asked, or that a magistrate turned him down for want of sufficient probable cause? Or something else?

    Beldar (fa637a)

  175. Beldar @183.

    Mueller should have had no more difficulty in getting access to Trump’s tax returns than he had in getting access to Manafort’s. The President’s right to confidentiality is no greater than any other taxpayer’s. I find it hard to believe that Mueller would sic his forensic accountants on Manafort and not on Trump, and it may be that that portion of his report — the investigation of Trump’s financials and taxes — is the part the public gets to see in its least redacted form, as a consequence of this brouhaha.

    nk (dbc370)

  176. @181 Can we get official birth certificates added to that list? Asking for a friend.

    frosty48 (6226c1)

  177. It’s also pretty clear to me that this is the Democrats’ reaction to fears that now Trump’s new AG will investigate their fraud and lies that led to the Russian collusion SWATting. Hoping that they can get Trump to back off from that, like he backed off from “Lock her up!”. The big sissy.

    nk (dbc370)

  178. @181 Can we get official birth certificates added to that list? Asking for a friend.

    Are you wondering about Donald Trump claiming repeatedly that his “father” was born in Germany, when we know that Fred Trump, the man married to Donald’s mother at the time, was born in New York?

    nk (dbc370)

  179. “… fraud and lies that led to the Russian collusion SWATting.”

    Good one, nk. That is an accurate metaphor.

    AZ Bob (885937)

  180. “But I am nevertheless certain that some substantial number of Trump supporters would think it’s a good and great thing, an example of Trump’s alpha maleness and tough-guy persona, if he in fact has cheated on his taxes and gotten away with it. Their only dissatisfaction is that they can’t do the same.”

    What a load.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  181. @188 No one in particular. I just read someplace about something having to do with age and citizenship or some such. I thought if we were going to start checking things maybe we could add those.

    frosty48 (6226c1)

  182. Beldar,

    I agree Mueller had to look at Trump’s tax returns as evidence in the Russian influence investigation, but I think Mueller would have been more likely to turn over any questionable information (such as possible evidence of tax or bank fraud) to the IRS Criminal Investigations Unit, the SDNY US Attorney, and/or state prosecutors. I doubt any of that got into Mueller’s Report. Rosenstein effectively told us that last year, as did Barr’s summary when he said any grand jury evidence and other referrals would be redacted.

    I even wonder if the Democrats know this and that is why they want Trump’s tax returns — because they know the publicly released version of the Mueller Report will redact anything about tax-related problems and/or fraud claims.

    DRJ (15874d)

  183. “…their fraud and lies that led to the Russian collusion SWATting.”

    That’s overstated, to say the least… snicker… snorfle…

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  184. I also think they want to get information they hope will make Trump look like a crook, but if not then they can portray him as wealthy and out of touch. If all they can do is show he is wealthy, I think that will backfire politically.

    DRJ (15874d)

  185. I’m not sure that the Ethics In Government Act (another legacy from Jimmy Carter) is all that constitutional in its application to the President, the Vice-President, Representatives and Senators, but I only know the case of Morrison v. Olson which addressed the Independent Counsel provision (and held in unconstitutional). There may be others.

    nk (dbc370)

  186. @194 That dog won’t hunt. The crook narrative is played out. They’d need to contrast him with someone virtuous like HRC and she says she’s not running in 2020. They’ve already tried rich and out of touch. How much richer and out of touch can someone get than DJT? Sure Oprah might be richer and more out of touch but no one is crazy enough to suggest she run for president. Although the Starbucks guy isn’t rich and he knows the average American likes coffee.

    frosty48 (6226c1)

  187. I also agree with Patterico that the Democrats can do this because they control the House.

    Too bad for Trump that he decided tweeting was more important than working with Ryan and the GOP House — the people who would not have asked for his tax returns.

    DRJ (15874d)

  188. 196. We’ll see.

    DRJ (15874d)

  189. How amusing to see people think that the Mueller Report exonerated Trump of everything.

    DRJ (15874d)

  190. Beldar–

    US Term Limits v Thornton would be the main argument against imposing requirements for federal office by statute. I haven’t read it since it came out, but my recollection was that it was not limited to state statutes. Certainly California could not require a financial disclosure for ballot access if they can’t enforce term limits or (another case(?)) require adherence to a political position.

    Members of Congress can, of course, be required BY THEIR OWN RULES to disclose financial information since each House is the sole judge of its members’ qualifications, but that does not extend to controlling other branches. They cannot pass a law saying that no one can be elected President without a financial disclosure (again US Term Limits), and it is at least arguable that they can’t require a disclosure after election.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  191. DRJ (192)–

    More to the point, why would the IRS or New York State need Mueller or Congress to tell them what was in a tax return they already audited?

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  192. it’s a good and great thing, an example of Trump’s alpha maleness and tough-guy persona, if he in fact has cheated on his taxes and gotten away with it

    I’m not one of those, if there are any. But again, why does Congress need to be involved in something when there are already city, state and federal tax compliance departments that audit the man every year? Is Congress somehow better at this than the IRS? I guess they maybe know how to cheat better, but that’s really not the argument they make.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  193. Congress *might* be able to offer campaign finance incentives to candidates who disclose, or limit contributions, or behave nicely in other ways, but even this is probably limited. “Incentives” that would effectively eliminate competition from noncompliers might be over the line.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  194. There’s a big difference between what is criminally relevant and what is politically relevant – what is criminally inculpating vs. politically devastating. I would wager that Mueller had already examined Trump’s returns to look for evidence of criminal activity within the scope of his particular investigative mandate. What he found, I don’t know.

    But I expect and hope that the contents of Trump’s returns will be politically devastating, if not criminally inculpating.

    Leviticus (7ebc85)

  195. I also agree with Patterico that the Democrats can do this because they control the House.

    There are several reasons to think this is unconstitutional, starting with separation of powers and imposing additional qualifications for office. If they were conducting an impeachment investigation that touched on tax or financial fraud, yeah, sure. But failing that it’s just a fishing expedition.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  196. I would guess that a lot of the damning information in Trump’s returns relates to “charitable giving” that links back to his own organizations and pockets.

    Fraud? Or just scum-baggery?

    He withheld them for a reason. Let’s find out why.

    Leviticus (7ebc85)

  197. If it’s a fishing expedition, Kevin M, then it’s a fishing expedition explicitly authorized by statute.

    It’s not a fishing expedition, though – not by a long shot, by the civil standard.

    And I don’t see how Congress asking the IRS for information violates separation of powers principles.

    Leviticus (7ebc85)

  198. But I expect and hope that the contents of Trump’s returns will be politically devastating

    The “hope” part is disqualifying and reflects the true nature of the House’s request. It is utterly impermissible to seek a taxpayer’s returns in order to dig up POLITICAL dirt.

    The only good part of this would be that, given this becomes widespread, it would lead to a political will to get rid of income tax returns.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  199. “But I expect and hope that the contents of Trump’s returns will be politically devastating, if not criminally inculpating.”

    Maybe… but maybe Schiff 2.0

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  200. And I don’t see how Congress asking the IRS for information violates separation of powers principles.

    So, you’d have no problem with Trump ordering a taxpayer compliance audit of every member of Congress? The People would cheer — Congress’ polling numbers are terrible and always have been. Nest of vipers. They could, of course, impeach him over it, but that would just make a martyr.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  201. This ongoing pony hunt in the pile is extremely amusing.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  202. If it’s a fishing expedition, Kevin M, then it’s a fishing expedition explicitly authorized by statute.

    It’s not a fishing expedition, though – not by a long shot, by the civil standard.

    Why? The argument that this has to do with ensuring compliance of thrice-audited material doesn’t pass the laugh test. This is political, AS YOU HOPED, and no matter how they claim they will button it up, the returns will be in the NY Times then next day, or (assuming there is nothing wrong) LIES about them will be there instead. Harry Reid showed how that game works.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  203. I would wager that Mueller had already examined Trump’s returns to look for evidence of criminal activity within the scope of his particular investigative mandate.

    And didn’t find any. Exit probable cause.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  204. “He withheld them for a reason. Let’s find out why.”
    Leviticus (7ebc85) — 4/6/2019 @ 8:48 am

    If this sentiment wasn’t a carve out special confined to Trump, I’d enthusiastically agree with it.

    Munroe (c94699)

  205. “He withheld them for a reason. Let’s find out why.”

    So did Romney. And, hey, why didn’t Hillary open the books of her Foundation? What is she hiding?

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  206. “If they aren’t guilty, what do they have to fear?”

    — Jackbooted storm-troopers the world over.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  207. For some, the personal animosity surpasses anything/anybody in recent memory.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  208. “…their fraud and lies that led to the Russian collusion SWATting.”

    That’s overstated, to say the least… snicker… snorfle…

    Are you being ironic?

    nk (dbc370)

  209. I’m exploring psyches…

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  210. What else is authorized by statute is for the President to certify any United States citizen an unlawful combatant, and to have him detained, extraordinarily rendered to Bulgaria, and enhancedly interrogated, without benefit of habeas corpus, until the Global War Against Terror is over.

    But I don’t think he should do it to Richard Neal, the Chairman of House Ways and Means Committee.

    nk (dbc370)

  211. Well, it’s ok, now that you gave up your day job, but remember that with deadpan setup is everything.

    nk (dbc370)

  212. nk 221

    Well, agreed as to Neal, but Nadler and Schiff?

    Stu707 (a0c2d4)

  213. 224… agreed, but I don’t want to be responsible for blown O-rings…

    https://i1.wp.com/www.powerlineblog.com/ed-assets/2019/04/Screen-Shot-2019-04-04-at-8.25.47-AM.png?w=1160&ssl=1

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  214. Haiku (#223)

    I’ve been saying that for a week. The Democrats say that it’s fine for them to take your money, your choice wrt health, schooling, self-protection, travel, housing and work, that infanticide is OK and immigrant shantytowns are our future, but unwanted touching is beyond the pale.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  215. well you can ask keith ellisons girl friend about that,

    https://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2019/04/at-the-noor-trial.php

    after what we’ve discovered about crossfire hurricane, and midyear, it’s a very naïve point, the latest was prietap apparently was cut out by strzok,

    narciso (d1f714)

  216. 227… yes, you have, Kevin. But there’s little difference between the two parties. I read it here.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  217. R.I.P. Fritz Hollings, 97, former US Senator

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/obituaries/ernest-f-fritz-hollings-longtime-senator-from-south-carolina-dies-at-97/2019/04/06/45deaba8-5876-11e9-814f-e2f46684196e_story.html

    A one-time segregationist, he voted against Thurgood Marshall in 1967, but for Clarence Thomas in 1991.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  218. Hollings always reminded me of Foghorn Leghorn.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  219. he flew the stars and bars over the state house, as a protest against desegregation, funny how that origin story doesn’t surface,

    narciso (d1f714)

  220. I predict the tax returns will be as damaging as Obama’s birth certificate, and withheld for the same reason … to tempt and then confound his opposition

    The Democrats might save some face if they wait to see Mueller’s redacted Report. This would have been my first stop had I been in Mueller’s shoes. Conspiracy is best proven with a money trail.

    Neo (d1c681)

  221. If he cheats his contractors and investors, they haven’t made a case yet.

    They haven’t??

    Patterico (ee405a)

  222. Patterico, do you honestly believe that New York State (or NYC) doesn’t audit Trump every year? Not to mention the IRS. Or that they would sign off on a fraudulent return? Because if you do, you aren’t being rational about it.

    Now, Hillary could get away with all those things, and probably does, but Trump works under a microscope.

    LOL. While you lecture me on my irrationality, try reading the latest WaPo piece, which you obviously have not heard about even though I linked it in this very thread, on Trump’s financial statements. Here’s a quote for all the Trump superfans not clicking:

    But, for someone trying to get a true picture of Trump’s net worth, the documents were deeply flawed. Some simply omitted properties that carried big debts. Some assets were overvalued. And some key numbers were wrong.

    For instance, Trump’s financial statement for 2011 said he had 55 home lots to sell at his golf course in Southern California. Those lots would sell for $3 million or more, the statement said.

    But Trump had only 31 lots zoned and ready for sale at the course, according to city records. He claimed credit for 24 lots — and at least $72 million in future revenue — he didn’t have.

    He also claimed his Virginia vineyard had 2,000 acres, when it really has about 1,200. He said Trump Tower has 68 stories. It has 58.

    . . . .

    Welch said Trump could be protected by disclaimers that his own accountants added to the statements, warning readers that they weren’t seeing the full picture. And in an odd way, Welch said, Trump could be helped by the sheer scale of the exaggerations. They were so far off from reality, Welch wondered whether any real bank or insurer could have been fooled.

    Welch said he’d never seen a document stretch so far past the normal conventions of accounting.

    “It’s humorous,” Welch said. “It’s a humorous financial statement.”

    Now re-read your comment in light of that story, and consider apologizing to me for calling me irrational.

    Your only move here is FAKENEWS!1!!!!!! because otherwise the story destroys the premise of your comment. Mr. Operates Under a Microscope always lies about his finances. Always.

    If you honestly believe otherwise, you haven’t remotely been paying attention.

    Patterico (ee405a)

  223. Kevin M sez:

    “If he cheats his contractors and investors, they haven’t made a case yet.”

    Fake USA TODAY news sez:

    Donald Trump often portrays himself as a savior of the working class who will “protect your job.” But a USA TODAY NETWORK analysis found he has been involved in more than 3,500 lawsuits over the past three decades — and a large number of those involve ordinary Americans, like the Friels, who say Trump or his companies have refused to pay them.

    So irrational I am, to believe Trump would defraud people!

    Patterico (ee405a)

  224. Oh, I see Davethulhu already covered this.

    Patterico (ee405a)

  225. Suing and “making their case” are two different things. And sure, he loses some suits, wins others, so some do “make their case” but it isn’t necessarily cheating, it’s “business disputes.”

    Sure, and it isn’t tax evasion, it’s tax avoidance. Until you get called on it.

    If they get his tax returns and put a microscope to them, he’s gonna get called on it.

    Patterico (ee405a)

  226. The NYT ran a long expose on Trump’s tax cheating. I guess Kevin M missed that too. Had they been auditing him thoroughly as he claims (a claim he makes to wriggle out of disclosing his returns the way everyone else does) they would have caught the fraud the NYT found.

    Yes, fraud.

    Patterico (ee405a)

  227. Had Trump been smart, he would’ve spent all those years in the public sector, where he could enjoy immunity from lawsuits filed by people like the Friels. But, he’s a moron.

    Munroe (6c9982)

  228. Time will tell.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  229. With tax payer paid settlements silly rabbit,

    narciso (d1f714)

  230. Runnin’ with the Devil…

    “Earlier this week, the White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) announced its 2019 award winners ahead of the liberal media’s asinine evening of bloated nonsense at the WHCA’s dinner on April 27. While some of the award winners and honorable mentions were for serious works of journalism, The Washington Post won for breaking the“shithole countries” story and CNN’s Kavanaugh coverage fetching an honorable mention were particularly egregious.

    As we’ll get to in a moment, the #FactsFirst network was anything but during its Kavanaugh coverage, offering one outlandish hot take after the next with a sprinkling of falsehoods along the way.

    Because the liberal media largely live within a bubble, this what the WHCA judges wrote:

    CNN’s coverage on the day of the hearings on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was aggressive, relied on deep sourcing and felt like one was watching a symphony. The news-making moments in which Sen. Jeff Flake, R-AZ, was confronted by two women was just a piece of the extensive coverage that followed every angle, all day.”

    https://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/nb/curtis-houck/2019/04/05/wh-correspondents-association-hails-cnns-kavanaugh-coverage

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  231. Runnin’ with the Devil…

    “Earlier this week, the White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) announced its 2019 award winners ahead of the liberal media’s asinine evening of bloated nonsense at the WHCA’s dinner on April 27. While some of the award winners and honorable mentions were for serious works of journalism, The Washington Post won for breaking the“sh!thole countries” story and CNN’s Kavanaugh coverage fetching an honorable mention were particularly egregious.

    As we’ll get to in a moment, the #FactsFirst network was anything but during its Kavanaugh coverage, offering one outlandish hot take after the next with a sprinkling of falsehoods along the way.

    Because the liberal media largely live within a bubble, this what the WHCA judges wrote:

    CNN’s coverage on the day of the hearings on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was aggressive, relied on deep sourcing and felt like one was watching a symphony. The news-making moments in which Sen. Jeff Flake, R-AZ, was confronted by two women was just a piece of the extensive coverage that followed every angle, all day.”

    https://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/nb/curtis-houck/2019/04/05/wh-correspondents-association-hails-cnns-kavanaugh-coverage

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  232. Yes, the NYT.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  233. “I guess I’m supposed to stop pretending.
    Maybe this is the beginning of the end of Trump derangement syndrome.
    Those who are coming to terms with the wrongness of their belief in the Russia collusion may take refuge in the idea that the other side is delusional.

    ADDED: One way to deal with the collapse of the big Russia hoax is to switch to all the many things, the “multiple fronts.” I only looked at the headline. I just don’t believe Greg Sargent’s scattershot approach is anything but an attempt to recover from the devastating loss of the fantasy that the President of the United States is in some elaborate, nefarious collusion with Russia.

    But I’ll read the Sargent piece so you don’t have to. The “multiple fronts” on which Trump is “floundering” are: 1. Trump’s attempt to make health-care reform a central issue for the GOP, 2. Trump’s threat to close the border with Mexico unless Mexico helps with illegal immigration, 3. Oh… I think that’s it. Hm. 2 things. I don’t think you should say “multiple” unless you’ve got at least 3.”

    https://althouse.blogspot.com/2019/04/i-guess-im-supposed-to-stop-pretending.html

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  234. “The Washington Post won for breaking the“sh!thole countries” story and CNN’s Kavanaugh coverage fetching an honorable mention were particularly egregious.“
    Colonel Haiku (2601c0) — 4/6/2019 @ 12:07 pm

    Maybe they can get Nicholas Sandmann to present the award.

    Munroe (2229a7)

  235. “Get That Trump Fantasy” Bad Company

    Hey, yeah.
    Here come the stories, one, two, three.
    It’s all part of the fantasy,
    He lurvs the WaPo and he lurvs to read the Times,
    Readin’ Haberman and dreamin’ up crimes, yeah.

    Here come the haters, one by one,
    Your past is callin’ but you’re havin’ fun
    You’ll find you’re spinnin’ with yer head up in the clouds
    Put those dots together and shout it out loud

    It’s all part of that Get That Trump fantasy, yeah.
    Its all part of that fever swamp dream, yeah.
    It’s all part of that Get That Trump fantasy, yeah.
    Its all part of that fever swamp dream

    Here comes Bill Kristol, the crazy man
    Ahoy, sailor! He’s got quite a tan
    The din’s so loud you can barely even hear
    Another talking point, pull it out your rear

    It’s all part of that Get That Trump
    fantasy, yeah.
    Its all part of that fever swamp
    dream, yeah
    Fantasy, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  236. #232, narciso, it’s a small point but the Confederate flag flying over the South Carolina State House during part of Fritz Hollings’ term as gonernor was not ‘The Stars and Bars’ (13 stars and 3 bars). It was ‘The Confederate Battle Flag’ (13 white stars in a blue diagonal saltier on a red field).

    The Confederate Battle flag (Dixie Cross) evolved during early confrontations to help differentiate between opposing sides. The Stars and Bars’ red, white, and blue colors so closely resembled those of the North’s Old Glory that often in the heat and smoke of battle confused soilders relied to the wrong side, especially when winds were light an flags hung limply down their staffs.

    The similarity was no accident. The South intentionality selected the colors and design of ‘The Stars and Bars’ to honor a close and respectful relationship to the Union they were leaving in the hope that a display of affection, brotherhood and goodwill might help to avoid further armed conflict. Unfortunately the gesture failed to restrain the voices for invasion.

    Actually, a series of flags represented the several seceding States during the early days of the terrible conflict. It was ‘The ‘Bonnie Blue Flag’ which flew over the guns bombarding Fort Sumpter, and the ‘Van Dorn Flag’ was used from early 1862 in Trans-Mississippi and Western battles.

    Officially, as the war proceeded, 3 different flags represented the Confederate States of America: The Stars and Bars; The Stainless Banner; and The Blood Stained Banner.

    ropelight (42007c)

  237. DRJ (192)–

    More to the point, why would the IRS or New York State need Mueller or Congress to tell them what was in a tax return they already audited?

    Kevin M (21ca15) — 4/6/2019 @ 8:36 am

    Tax returns aren’t audited for bank or insurance fraud. The audits involve taxes. But a referral from a prosecutor or special counsel could include other fraud that the tax returns helped him find.

    DRJ (15874d)

  238. Trump has tried to run for President many times. He seems to crave the power and attention of the public sector, as long as he is in charge.

    DRJ (15874d)

  239. Assuming the Dem House would grind out those AoI, ‘impeach’ to convict would require an elected Dem majority Senate; but then, to paraphrase Sammy Davis, Jr., ‘there goes da judges…’ So, for the GOP, it’s ‘…allegiance ruled by expedience…’ as the great Tom Lehrer would quip.

    ‘Nazi, schmazi,’ says Wernher Von Braun” – Tom Lehrer

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  240. @252. DRJ: “Here’s A Timeline Of Every Time Donald Trump Ran For President.”

    And where else would you find it but =drumroll= TV Guide LOL

    https://www.tvguide.com/news/donald-trump-presidential-campaign-timeline/

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  241. @97. Never forget: a Buckeye is a useless nut.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  242. @ Kevin M, who wrote (#200):

    Certainly California could not require a financial disclosure for ballot access if they can’t enforce term limits or (another case(?)) require adherence to a political position.

    I’m not talking about the states so requiring. I’m talking about whether Congress could. And I repeat: Financial disclosure requirements are very, very different from substantive requirements or prohibitions on one’s candidacy.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  243. @242. OTOH, a ‘moron’ “smart enough” to out maneuver, outrun and outwit bankers, babes and business people for decades and grift his way into a plum job he likely expected not to win in the firt place, planning to profit on the loss. Does it sting?

    “You have to keep this con even after you take his money. He can’t know you took him.” – Henry Gondorff [Paul Newman] ‘The Sting’ 1973

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  244. He trusted the professional politicians to do the right thing for 30 years, how did that work out?

    Narciso (2171ef)

  245. I’m not sure why Trump’s tax returns are a matter of public policy or a matter for the House of Representatives. Or Pelosi’s for that matter. What specifically will a tax return show us? And for what years? Is there a requirement that the President complete a 100% clean tax return? Or not take “grey area” deductions?

    Other than “We don’t like him” – I don’t see the point.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  246. Why would Mueller have looked at Manafort’s tax returns and other financial information available through federal agencies — closely enough to develop evidence sufficient to convict him on eight counts of filing false tax returns, failure to disclose offshore accounts, and bank fraud — but not Trump’s?

    My working assumption is that Trump’s lawyers unanimously told him, within hours of Mueller’s appointment if not before, that the DoJ and FBI almost certainly already had full access to everything the Treasury Department, including the IRS, has ever had in any of their files about Trump or the Trump Organization — either simply for the asking (for tax returns) from a sister agency or after an ex parte showing of probable cause to a friendly magistrate (for return information and probably some other agency-held info) — and that there was nothing Trump could do about that. They would have tried to calm him by saying that the IRS’ auditors already were looking at all the same stuff anyway since he was already under audit and, by definition, on their radar screens (unlike Manafort and others who’ve gotten away, at least for a long time, with their own tax fraud so long as they stayed in the shadows).

    I’m inclined to give deference — not exactly Chevron deference, but substantial deference anyway! — to speculation from you or nk or others with criminal law experience that I emphatically lack.

    But are you postulating that Mueller never asked, or that a magistrate turned him down for want of sufficient probable cause? Or something else?

    I am postulating that Mueller never asked. I think the chances that Trump could remain quiet about this are close to zero. Why would Mueller not look? Restraint, concern that he’d be seen as overreaching.

    Patterico (fe6129)

  247. I don’t see the point.

    Nobody thought you would.

    And nobody thinks you could fail to see the point if we were talking about a Democrat.

    Patterico (fe6129)

  248. It must be nice to be so cocooned that you can take a carefully documented and meticulously detailed article and dismiss it because, hey, New York Times.

    Now do Trump. The second you dismiss everything he says because he routinely lies is when I begin to see you as a non-hypocrite. Of course I still could not take you seriously because sometimes Trump says true things, and if he said a true thing that was meticulously detailed and carefully documented, only a hack would dismiss it because he routinely lies, just like only a hack would dismiss the NUT story simply because of where it came from.

    I am no longer interested in discussions with hacks.

    Patterico (fe6129)

  249. I’m not an attorney but from what been reported from Trump’s legal people, the ‘pushback’ on the return matter is it would set a precedent for both political parties to weaponize tax returns, which seems to skirt rather than actually address any direct possibility of criminality within the Trump matter itself.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  250. @ Kevin M: From US Term Limits, Inc. v. Thornton, 514 U.S. 779, 836 (1995)(italics mine):

    [W]e hold that a state [constitutional] amendment is unconstitutional when it has the likely effect of handicapping a class of candidates and has the sole purpose of creating additional qualifications [beyond those specified for members of Congress in the Constitution] indirectly.

    Although written almost two decades after the seminal case upholding campaign finance disclosures, Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1 (1976), Thornton doesn’t even mention Buckley — unsurprisingly to me, since federal campaign finance disclosure laws don’t remotely affect any “class of candidates,” but rather apply to all candidates. There’s just no way that Thornton supports your argument, in my humble opinion.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  251. @259. An umpire makes a call at the plate, you dash from the dugout to complain in his face, point to the an approaching line of thunderstorms and argue ‘what’s the point; this game’s gonna be called on account of rain anyway.’

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  252. I just don’t know what to think about the NYT anymore. It seems to have suddenly gained prestige in the past six months. I guess we should stay tuned. Maybe it depends on who the target is.

    Munroe (284e94)

  253. DRJ

    After 2 years, $25M, reviewing 1.4M pages from the Trump campaign, 8000 from the WH regarding Comey, 5700 from the WH regarding Flynn, the FBI reviewing financial records related to the Trump Organization, as well as Trump, his family members, including Donald Trump Jr., and campaign associates. They’ve combed through the list of shell companies and buyers of Trump-branded real estate properties and scrutinized the roster of tenants at Trump Tower reaching back more than a half-dozen years. They’ve looked at the backgrounds of Russian business associates connected to Trump surrounding the 2013 Miss Universe pageant. CNN could not determine whether the review has included his tax returns., 2800 supoenas, 500 search warrants, 230 Communications orders, over 500 witness interviews, Muellers team did not advance the ball on Trump.

    If this was football, Mueller vs Trump, Mueller scored 0 on Trump, his family, his businesses. Muellers team was down in the score and took a knee for the loss as time expired.

    That isn’t the legal definition of an exoneration, more like the 2nd definition you find in the dictionary where it is defined as: the release of someone from a duty or obligation.
    Under the Mueller findings it does appear that Trump has no duty or obligation to anyone or any entity to do anything.

    My opinion on the “not an exoneration” debate is that the legal community has a point, but to the rest of the country its a distinction without a difference. No charges after all the stats listed above doesn’t mean innocence, but it meant that despite all the mountain of work the threshold was never touched and that in turn means there was no reason for any determination of guilt or innocence. It all just goes into boxes in the basement. Why are we talking about boxes in the basement? (because its kinda fun?)

    I lifted this part from CNN in August 2017: “the FBI reviewing financial records related to the Trump Organization, as well as Trump, his family members, including Donald Trump Jr., and campaign associates. They’ve combed through the list of shell companies and buyers of Trump-branded real estate properties and scrutinized the roster of tenants at Trump Tower reaching back more than a half-dozen years. They’ve looked at the backgrounds of Russian business associates connected to Trump surrounding the 2013 Miss Universe pageant. CNN could not determine whether the review has included his tax returns.
    https://www.cnn.com/2017/08/03/politics/mueller-investigation-russia-trump-one-year-financial-ties/index.html

    steveg (e7a56b)

  254. Perhaps a more inclusive way to generally phrase this is not ‘Democrats Request Trump Tax Returns’ — but ‘Congress’ [or ‘House Committee’] Requests Trump Tax Returns.’ Co-equal branch, etc., etc.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  255. next on the history of comedy, Rupert pupkin network’s credibility is below kelvin,

    narciso (d1f714)

  256. @269. Speaking of comedy, be sure to catch Shecky’s stand-up in the RJC Room in Vegas.

    Hilarious mishmash; funnier than a bowl of alphabet Soup spilled in your lap.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  257. I found this, from TheHill.com, interesting: Five things to watch in Trump tax-return fight:

    Trump and Republicans, however, are already starting to argue that the request doesn’t have a legitimate legislative purpose.

    An outside lawyer for Trump, William Consovoy, said in a letter to the Treasury Department on Friday that Neal doesn’t really want Trump’s tax returns to examine the IRS, and that the request is about “scoring political points” against the president.

    Consovoy also said that it would set a bad precedent for the IRS to provide the returns because it would allow politicians to use tax returns to harass their political opponents. And he argued that it’s inappropriate for Neal to request returns related to an ongoing IRS audit.

    These are stupid-bad arguments, embarrassingly ridiculous. Note to the clueless, like Mr. Consovoy: Politicians do play politics! Short of amending the Constitution to repeal Article I, that is going to happen.

    Moreover, politicians should be allowed to hold their opponents accountable for anything in an opponent’s tax returns that is embarrassing or inconvenient.

    As for the whole “pending audit” argument: That is now, and has always been, a steaming pile of illogical bull cr@p: The IRS already has the info. It’s not like they’re going to learn something from the press discussion anything they don’t already know. Letting the public know what the IRS already knows doesn’t hurt Trump with the IRS — but it certainly might with the public, at least the portion of it that’s not already so shamelessly enthralled in his personality cult that they’d affirmatively cheer Trump for successful tax evasion. (I mean, hypothetically, the sort of the people who’d ask, “What’s the point?” so long as Trump is the one being examined — while also insisting that Jeff Sessions should have been impeached for not indicting Bill & Hill over Clinton Foundation pay-to-play.)

    The next three topics in The Hill’s piece are clickbait without substance. The last one is worth note, though:

    Democrats have been bracing themselves for a court fight, and such a battle may end up being lengthy.

    Andy Grewal, a law professor at the University of Iowa, said that it could take a while for the courts to decide whether the House would even have the right to sue over the matter.

    “Just the question of whether they have the right to sue could take years to resolve,” he said.

    If Democrats receive Trump’s tax returns, the documents wouldn’t immediately become public. For return information to become public, the Ways and Means Committee would need to include it in a report and vote to submit that report to the full House.

    Yes, this will likely take many months to play out, and yes, there are threshold jurisprudential issues (not limited to standing, ripeness, and overall justiciability) which will make this litigation very complicated. But the statute isn’t complicated. And on the merits, I expect Trump to lose, badly, at every step of a court fight. On the merits, I do not see this as a close case at all. Trump’s going to have to be in the position of asking appellate courts for stays pending further appeals, which is not a level playing field.

    And yes, there will have to be a completely perfunctory committee vote, maybe even a full House vote, to satisfy the statutory requirements before anything is made public — but that won’t delay things appreciably.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  258. And nobody thinks you could fail to see the point if we were talking about a Democrat.

    I’ve never cared whether Clinton or Obama made their tax returns public. I don’t care if Pelosi makes her’s public – or doesn’t – and I think Romney was a dope in 2012 for caving into pressure and publicizing his. I’m more interested in seeing their health records. Cf: FDR in 1944, or JFK’s Medical problems.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  259. Hurrah! rcocean has called (#272) for the public release of all of the Clintons’ and Obama’s health records!

    I join him in this! And let’s see the x-rays of Trump’s bone spur while we’re at it, okay? Let’s see his entire medical history, instead of some hyper-massaged, spectacularly deceptive, even literally Trump-dictated health summaries claiming he’s the healthiest POTUS ever.

    I commend you on your public-spirited curiosity on these topics, rcocean — regardless of whether you care about anyone’s compliance with the tax laws or, instead, cheating of the taxpayer.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  260. 241

    The NYT ran a long expose on Trump’s tax cheating. …

    Which Trump, Fred or Donald?

    James B. Shearer (92a19f)

  261. 271

    … And on the merits, I expect Trump to lose, badly, at every step of a court fight. …

    And I expect him to win. Do you expect the Democrats to deny that this is a politically inspired fishing expedition or to claim that it doesn’t matter?

    James B. Shearer (92a19f)

  262. “just like only a hack would dismiss the NUT story simply because of where it came from.”

    Freudian slip… a glimmer of hope.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  263. John Corzine to the white courtesy phone, yes they were able to wrangle some coin out of the mf (I know right) global settlement but nowhere near the 1.5 billion loss, which coincidentally is what Robert vesco stole inflation adjusted for 1973.

    Narciso (480416)

  264. In elementary school, I — like, I think, most Americans of my generation — was regularly threatened by teachers and school principals that “This will be going on your PERMANENT RECORD, young man!”

    One time I stuttered back: “But I made an A!”

    “Don’t think that we only keep permanent records of your grades, Billy Jack! Back-talk goes on your permanent record, too!” Followed by the dramatic uncapping of a ball-point pen and furious scribbling on the teacher’s clipboard.

    By the time I took my PSAT and SAT in high school — now in the digital age, when giant mainframes like HAL would presumably replace the box of index cards in the principal’s office — I was thoroughly convinced that anything I did at school, even a remote high school in a small town on the west Texas prairies — would follow me throughout my life. And further, that anyone whose future blessings or cooperation or approbation of any sort would have continuous access to all of my metaphorical closets, wherein few if any metaphorical skeletons would be allowed to hide.

    After all, I’d already had that conversation with my mother, when I was complaining of a shortage of good reading material at the local library and in our household, and she’d replied, “Billy Jack, I know you look at the pictures in your father’s Playboy magazines. Read the interviews and articles and reviews, too, why don’t you?” So I assumed that when it came to anyone who would count for anything important in my life, I’d have no secrets from them: They’d have my “permanent record,” after all.

    —–

    Now in the digital age, even such micro-minutia as the exact times, and particular hops over the internet through which, I transmit my comments from my computer keyboard to this blog are being memorialized continuously, instantly, multiply — probably in real time by the NSA.

    I’m a small-l libertarian on a great many issues, a proponent of civil liberties, and a sometimes champion (in my day job) of privacy rights.

    But when the person whose privacy in question is a candidate for POTUS, I believe the entire public is entitled to the candidate’s entire “permanent record” — including even his back-talk to a fourth-grade teacher. Including his health records. Including his tax returns and a ton of other even more meaningful financial data. Including his connections to other people, companies, and public agencies — worldwide.

    I thought it was a good thing in 2000 that we knew Bush’s and Gore’s standardized test scores and grades. I thought Dubya’s campaigners got taught a good, appropriate lesson when their decision not to voluntarily disclose his DWI conviction as a young man. These things were all part of their respective “permanent records,” and appropriate grist for the mill as voters chose between them.

    You value your privacy? Pick a different line of work than public servant. Don’t become a doctor or lawyer or other licensed professional, either.

    The notion that anyone should be sympathetic to Donald Trump’s personal privacy — this reality TV show wh0re, this relentless, pathetic publicity seeker, this con man and huckster — is an odious one. There’s no less deserving target for our sympathy.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  265. In #273, that sentence ought to have read:

    I thought Dubya’s campaigners got taught a good, appropriate lesson when their decision not to voluntarily disclose his DWI conviction as a young man blew up in their faces just before Election Day.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  266. If NYT found evidence the IRS could use, you would be assured they would use it. If I remember correctly, there is no statute of limitations on tax evasion.

    Earlier I referred people to the Kennedy’s and their legal tax avoidances. Pundits in the past have declared those to be illegal, immoral, unethical. The IRS has not exonerated the Kennedy’s directly and specifically, but the action or inaction of the IRS says all that matters on the subject.
    There is no doubt in my mind that the IRS criminal investigation forensic unit and its special collections unit would do all their due diligence… though for political reasons, it may not go anywhere

    steveg (e7a56b)

  267. James B. Shearer asked me (#275):

    Do you expect the Democrats to deny that this is a politically inspired fishing expedition or to claim that it doesn’t matter?

    This seems to me to be restating Mr. Consovoy’s argument that he’s shocked, shocked to learn that gambling is going on at Rick’s politicians might be motivated by politics.

    I say it doesn’t matter what any Democrats, on or off the Ways & Means Committee, either admit or deny, and that their answer would be irrelevant: The statute says what it says, it was duly passed into law, it’s within an area of Congress’ constitutional authority, and indeed, under the “political question” doctrine of jurisprudence, federal courts are forbidden to speculate one way or the other about, or second-guess and correct, political motivations. That there is any asserted legislative purpose essentially ends the inquiry. In Neal’s letter to the IRS, he wrote:

    Consistent with its authority, the Committee is considering legislative proposals and conducting oversight related to our Federal tax laws, including, but not limited to, the extent to which the IRS audits and enforces the Federal tax laws against a President. Under the Internal Revenue Manual, individual income tax returns of a President are subject to mandatory examination, but this practice is IRS policy and not codified in the Federal tax laws. It is necessary for the Committee to determine the scope of any such examination and whether it includes a review of underlying business activities required to be reported on the individual income tax return.

    Boiled down, it’s: We’re thinking about passing new laws refining our existing laws that affect IRS tax audits, and we need this info to write and consider such laws.

    That’s ample.

    The fact that there are also political purposes motivating the request, even transparent ones urged by partisan political opponents of the POTUS, genuinely doesn’t matter to the constitutionality of the statute or the legality of this request under it.

    You’re entitled to your own predictions, of course, about the law, but I’d be more impressed if you could articulate some argument or, better, cite some precedent that supports yours. I’ve already addressed the other arguments from Trump lawyer Consovoy, and explained why I think they’re ridiculous. I’d certainly be interested in reviewing any other, better arguments that you’ve got, sir.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  268. I am not sympathetic to Donald Trump’s personal privacy. He wh**ed it all away, literally and figuratively, a long time ago.
    I most definitely do not think it is manly to evade taxes.
    I do abhor abuse of the law and abuse of process. Richard Neal is not enforcing the Rule of Law, he is abusing it to harass an odious con man and huckster, and I do not like that any more than I like cops pulling pretextual traffic stops on a person they don’t like because they hope to find drugs and guns in the car.

    nk (dbc370)

  269. @ steveg, who wrote (#280):

    If NYT found evidence the IRS could use, you would be assured they would use it.

    They, who? The NYT would use it on the front page. But the IRS already has it, sir.

    Duh.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  270. So incumbents have free reign to examine the returns of their primary and general elections opponents. Cool.

    kaf (0363f1)

  271. Seeing how the times misrepresented the gist of the Comey memos, that’s probably how he couldn’t be charged with perjury,

    Narciso (480416)

  272. So incumbents have free reign to examine the returns of their primary and general elections opponents. Cool.

    Heh! Is Howard Schultz next?

    nk (dbc370)

  273. I agree 100%. We should make public 100% of everything about everybody. Because this is what this will lead to. As an initial offering I would hope that Mr. Patterico would post his returns for the last 7 years. As soon as you do, I will post mine.

    Carl Hinman (c0dee8)

  274. Mr. Hinman, no one is proposing that you post your tax returns.

    Neither you, nor our host, is a candidate for POTUS.

    When and if you and/or he becomes one, I will clamor for your tax returns. Get it?

    Beldar (fa637a)

  275. When a vindictive prosecutor causes you to lose your company (black) your job (delay) or your life (stevens) despite the appeals where does one go.

    Narciso (480416)

  276. When a vindictive prosecutor causes you to lose your company (black) your job (delay) or your life (stevens) despite the appeals where does one go.

    Guaranteed Minimum Income and Medicare For All?

    nk (dbc370)

  277. Should be easy to pass a constitutional amendment then stating that to run for higher office your life must be an open book and your trash is there for anyone to dig through.

    Have fun finding people but the filthiest to run.

    NJRob (11567c)

  278. Like I said at my comment 168 above, the government can do no wrong because the government is always right.

    nk (dbc370)

  279. Anarchists!!

    nk (dbc370)

  280. Mr Beldar,
    The law being used could apply to anyone, not just the POTUS. Do you really want congress to be able to examine tax returns whenever they decide it is in their best interest?

    Carl Hinman (c0dee8)

  281. Let’s get more ahead of ourselves. Is Steven Mnuchin as loyal to Trump as Eric Holder was to Obama? Because he can tell Neal to pound sand the way Holder told Darrel Issa to pound sand. The Committee can hold him in contempt, but even if the full House refers it to Justice for prosecution, Barr will tell them to pound sand. Then the House can impeach both and the Senate Republicans can tell it to pound sand.

    nk (dbc370)

  282. Good Texas Tech – Michigan State game on!!!

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  283. 283, that’s all the CPD has left in their whittled-down-by-consent-decree arsenal.

    urbanleftbehind (9ef896)

  284. Wouldn’t you rather watch a Fairly Odd Parents/Jimmy Neutron crossover? https://youtu.be/tPWlIca0kE8

    nk (dbc370)

  285. Carl Hinman (c0dee8) — 4/6/2019 @ 6:46 pm

    Happyfeet, is that you?

    felipe (023cc9)

  286. And then neal will go after Mnuchin next reopening indybank or whatever, which was when he tried to salvage what Schumer had scorched

    Narciso (480416)

  287. Beldar.
    If the NYT found evidence of misdeeds the IRS did not have, the IRS would, in short order follow that evidence up.

    Your DUH! should be aimed at the host

    steveg (e7a56b)

  288. felipe
    hf has an aversion to capitalization

    steveg (e7a56b)

  289. 282

    You’re entitled to your own predictions, of course, about the law, but I’d be more impressed if you could articulate some argument or, better, cite some precedent that supports yours. I’ve already addressed the other arguments from Trump lawyer Consovoy, and explained why I think they’re ridiculous. I’d certainly be interested in reviewing any other, better arguments that you’ve got, sir.

    I explained the basis for my opinion at 172 above. The Supreme Court justices will be thinking “what if it was me?” and will decide they wouldn’t want their tax returns made public as part of a political witch hunt and will rule accordingly as they can do.

    James B. Shearer (92a19f)

  290. 280

    If NYT found evidence the IRS could use, you would be assured they would use it. If I remember correctly, there is no statute of limitations on tax evasion.

    As far as criminal charges are concerned the statute of limitations seems to be 6 years. There is no limit for civil charges but as a practical matter the IRS rarely goes back more than 6 years.

    The NYT article I read was mostly about Fred Trump who died in 1999. There is no way the IRS is going after a man who has been dead for 20 years.

    James B. Shearer (92a19f)

  291. The NYT article is meaningless as evidence of misdeeds and likely is stuff the IRS already looked at and given a pass.
    The IRS doesn’t pass on big money lightly. The way the IRS units make their bones is by finding and bringing in the big numbers. Trump would be a big big prize.
    I had a client who I knew prior to his going over to the dark side and worked for after he started making real money, who had been part of a regional special collections unit. I’ve had clients who had been drug importers who had hidden money all over the globe, I currently have a client who is an attorney who specializes in asset forfeiture and recovery.
    Cops and prosecutor types of lawyers often don’t like me, generally speaking, but most other people tell me their stories. Probably because I respect that their life is a story with many chapters and don’t judge them.

    steveg (e7a56b)

  292. And on the merits, I expect Trump to lose, badly, at every step of a court fight.

    The New York Times had a story n today’s paper with this line in it: (boldface mine)

    Denocrats anticipate that the Trump Administration could present an argument similar to the one made on Friday by Mr. Consovoy, namely that Mr. Neal’s request lacks a legitimate legislative purpo and, based on past court precedent must respect Mr Trump’s right to privacy.

    It also says he legal process could take years to sort out (which means it might not even be finished by the end of second term for Trump, altough courts probably wouldn’t let it go on so long)

    It also says the committee would hae t vote to disclose it (it doesn’t say he full House or rhat it would have to be in the form of an appendix to a committee report.)

    Sammy Finkelman (e70ce9)

  293. LOL. While you lecture me on my irrationality, try reading the latest WaPo piece, which you obviously have not heard about even though I linked it in this very thread, on Trump’s financial statements.

    Goal-post moving, or maybe “squirrel!”. The House is not looking at those and those are not “thrice-audited.”

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  294. The NYT ran a long expose on Trump’s tax cheating. I guess Kevin M missed that too

    I read one where they breathlessly discovered that Trump writes investment losses off against his gains, that he uses depreciation laws to depreciate buildings, and that he takes advantage of every thing he can. The DEVIL!

    Then they admitted that most of the time it does him no good because AMT.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  295. Tax returns aren’t audited for bank or insurance fraud.

    Maybe because it’s not the place to look for those. Isn’t ANYONE embarrassed by the lengths they are willing to go to GET TRUMP!11!!?

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  296. Beldar (#256):

    Why did you cut that quote out then “correct” me for something I addressed in the same comment? Congress CAN require its members to disclose all kinds of things, no one doubts that (Art I, Sect 5, Clause 1).

    They can’t require YOU to disclose your returns for any purpose other than paying your taxes, and they’d have a lot of trouble making the Supreme Court do it, too. Why should they be able to demand the Executive do so? I guess they could say “Do it or we impeach your ass”, but right now Trump is polling rather better than Congress.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  297. Beldar (#264)

    We may be talking at cross-purposes. I’m talking about Congress generally forcing public disclosures of tax returns or otehr financial data, by statute. Their power is much greater over members of their own House. If you are talking about campaign finance, I missed that turn in the conversation, but it sure seemed like you were arguing that they could say “If you run for President you have to disclose your tax returns” and if they exempted themselves (as they would), it would BE a “class of candidates.”

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  298. And I may be a bit pissy about tax returns right now, having to go back over 22 years of financial data to reconcile the sale of my West LA home to Uncle Sam.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  299. Campaign finance disclosures (“Who giving you money and how you spending it, boy?”) are a different animal from the personal financial disclosures (“What you got and how you getting more?”). And I’ll agree with you by disagreeing, Kevin: The qualifications each House can judge are the Constitutional ones — age, length of citizenship, residence, and participation in rebellion or other crime. They cannot impose additional ones, such as revealing their personal finances or inseam length.

    nk (dbc370)

  300. @ steveg: We’re talking about whether the IRS releases Trump’s returns and return information to Congress — which information would shortly thereafter make its way into the NY Times, I agree.

    Since the source of the release is the IRS, there is no possible way that it could include anything the IRS doesn’t already have. The IRS doesn’t need the NYT to tell it how to look at tax returns. The fact that Trump is being audited, then, has nothing whatsoever to do with whether his tax returns and tax return information is released to the public. Every time Trump insists that he’s justified in withholding his returns from the public because he’s under audit, he’s making an argument that only an idiot could ever entertain as a serious one, even for a moment.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  301. I’m more interested in seeing their health records. Cf: FDR in 1944, or JFK’s Medical problems.

    Yeah, I would much rather have Trump’s medical records as I see a real problem there (as opposed to the counting coup crap that we seemed tied up in). Trump behaves a LOT like a man at the shallow end of Alzheimer’s. Memory loss, inability to control his anger, irrational explosions. Talk about a national security issue! (Does anyone really believe that it’s a national crisis if he’s quick to claim a deduction?)

    So, get his doctors on the stand, or send in some Navy doctors to double-check. If he IS impaired, it’s an actual problem, not just a political one.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  302. Every time Trump insists that he’s justified in withholding his returns from the public because he’s under audit, he’s making an argument that only an idiot could ever entertain as a serious one, even for a moment.

    Hard to argue with that, other than suggest it’s not the most bald-faced lie to come out of Washington. But it does grate.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  303. OTOH, if Maxine Waters gets to see them, they’ll be in the morning mail.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  304. “Isn’t ANYONE embarrassed by the lengths they are willing to go to GET TRUMP!11!!?”

    Go sell rationality elsewhere, they place no value on it here.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  305. Sounds like Khan chasing Kirk in the mutaran nebula.

    Narciso (6d59c1)

  306. Mr. Hinman wrote (#295):

    The law being used could apply to anyone, not just the POTUS. Do you really want congress to be able to examine tax returns whenever they decide it is in their best interest?

    That is not this case. If the Committee decided to demand your tax returns, or our host’s, or mine, from the IRS, the Committee would need to identify a different purpose from the the that Congressman Neal’s letter identifies with respect to this request. The IRS doesn’t have a special policy about auditing your, or our host’s, or my tax returns; it does, however, have a special policy just for the POTUS. Given that it does, Congress may consider whether that policy needs revision, correction, repeal — all as part of its oversight responsibilities.

    Mr. Shearer: Thank you for your confirmation at #304 that the “Supreme Court justices will be thinking ‘what if it was me?’ and will decide they wouldn’t want their tax returns made public as part of a political witch hunt and will rule accordingly as they can do.” Your fortune-telling and mind-reading skills may be better than mine, but I will say that I have never seen an opinion in which the Court has ignored or ruled contrary to the law without at least some fig leaf of a legal justification. I remain unpersuaded, and stand my my contrary prediction.

    @ Kevin M: As I just wrote to Mr. Hinman, the legislative purpose expressed here relates to an existing policy, and to possible legislative changes, unique to the POTUS. The Congress can and does write legislation that affects the POTUS; it sets his salary, for instance, and authorizes the positions and payments for his White House staff and the Executive Departments generally. Arguments to the effect of, “This means Congress can do this to anyone” are badly misplaced; that’s not what is happening here, and it’s a false premise that I emphatically, once again, reject.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  307. Go sell rationality elsewhere, they place no value on it here.

    Cool it, Haiku. We’re all just talking here.

    nk (dbc370)

  308. In #321, my phrase “different purpose from the the that Congressman Neal’s letter identifies” should have read “different purpose from that which Congressman Neal’s letter identifies.”

    Beldar (fa637a)

  309. I am embarrassed that the POTUS hasn’t released his taxes and has only a bullsh!t excuse for it that only a moron could credit. I’m embarrassed that so many Americans are so eager to applaud and defend him for duplicitous behavior.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  310. One of my attorney clients and I have a mutual client in common who had me build part of a polo complex for him.
    The mutual client reminds me a lot of Trump. High nine figures net worth and very high net cash flow off of real estate properties. He is a hard nosed developer who fights and fights. SOB to work for. This client had the polo part of his development disallowed by the county due to the AG zoning, contending polo playing is not ag use, which was fair enough. The attorney had him develop it under the umbrella of an experimental sod farm, where polo needed to be played upon it to determine suitability for sale.
    He sells sod stolons to polo buddies around the world and cynics would say he must be finding some way to reimburse his friends for their purchases, but no one has ever found proof or a legal reason to mount a successful challenge. My guess is that my attorney client has helped him structure something legal.
    The same attorney also advised the client that although county ordinance did not allow using the polo field as a landing pad for his helicopter, the fine as structured, was less than the cost of the limo drive and let the client come to his own conclusion.

    For the record, I’m totally onboard with the first one. On the second one, personally would not break the law and use my wealth to scoff at it even though my opinion is that its a ridiculous ordinance in that area of the county. His closest neighbor, a hedge fund billionaire hates him and calls every time he hears a helicopter, but to me, the county should change the fine schedule… its like as if speeding tickets are a buck fifty to him… if you don’t put a price on it that matters… then it doesn’t matter. Again, I personally don’t live life that way very often, and if so, not for very long, but I understand that others live by pushing the envelope and I don’t resent them. Without them the bureaucracy and legal system would inevitably creep further and further into a life controlled by petty bureaucrats and their pit bulls

    steveg (e7a56b)

  311. Trump behaves a LOT like a man at the shallow end of Alzheimer’s. Memory loss, inability to control his anger, irrational explosions. Talk about a national security issue!

    Except that even in the most routine cases doctors are loathe to give that diagnosis. They will agree that symptoms are present, but try not to point to a precise underlying cause. Now extrapolate that reticence to a POTUS.

    And it’s not necessarily a national security issue. Alzheimer’s takes several years to develop before it reaches the stage that patients and family start to wonder if something more than normal aging is at work. It’s quite probable that it was already affecting Reagan during his second term (especially the last year or so.)

    Kishnevi (c91988)

  312. Friends and neighbors, the only privacy rights that any of us has in our tax returns is that which Congress created. It created the only protections; and so it also decided upon the only exceptions to those protections. One of them is that certain Congressional committees may, at a minimum, confidentially review returns and return information when Congress asks the IRS for it.

    We’re by definition talking about a privacy interest in information already given to the government — the very same government that the House and Senate comprise coordinate branches of.

    You have no further reasonable expectations, nor a generalized right to expect the government not to “narc you out” to another part of the government using anything you’ve already given to the government.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  313. I should not have said my client “sells” stolons to friends. I’ve also heard he gives them to his friends to test out on their own polo grounds. So I don’t know that for certain and I apologize

    steveg (e7a56b)

  314. 321

    … but I will say that I have never seen an opinion in which the Court has ignored or ruled contrary to the law without at least some fig leaf of a legal justification. …

    I expect they can come up with something as least as plausible as their claim that the constitution requires gay marriage.

    James B. Shearer (92a19f)

  315. @ nk: It’s absolutely routine for high federal government officials to have to file, for public review, not just campaign finance disclosures, but personal financial disclosures:

    Certain government employees are required to file a public financial disclosure report (SF-278). They are:

    * Employees, including special government employees, whose positions are classified above GS-15;

    * Employees whose rate of basic pay is fixed, other than under the General Schedule, at a rate equal to or greater than 120% of the minimum rate of basic pay for a GS-15;

    * Employees in positions which are excepted from the competitive service by reason of being a confidential or policy-making character (Schedule C); and

    * Administrative Law Judges.

    Public financial disclosure reports must be filed within 30 days of entering or terminating a covered position and annually by May 15th….

    This article discusses Trump’s top executive level form from May 2018, which is how we came to learn of Michael Cohen’s reimbursements for bimbo payments.

    Do you doubt that the regs and underlying laws so requiring on constitutional?

    Beldar (fa637a)

  316. Bah. Again short one blockquote close tag. Sorry.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  317. It was a joke among my colleagues when the Hare Krishna case came down (it upheld the bar to begging at airports) that the Justices who were constantly flying to and from Washington were just as sick of them as the rest of the public.

    nk (dbc370)

  318. Again, thank you for your detailed and sophisticated constitutional analysis, Mr. Shearer. I will give it exactly the consideration it is due.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  319. Do you doubt that the regs and underlying laws so requiring on constitutional?

    Beldar (fa637a) — 4/6/2019 @ 9:38 pm

    Yes, for Constitutional offices, such as the President, Vice-President, Congressmen, Senators, and the Chief Justice. Not for offices which are strictly creatures of Congress, whether buck privates in the military or cabinet secretaries. That second group is subject to whatever rules and regulations Congress imposes.

    nk (dbc370)

  320. Of course it would be in the interest of the IRS (and their business) so I’m sure the IRS gave info to the FBI and asked for any new info found in return as the FBI looked into Trump finances. It would be close to dereliction of duty if everything the FBI found and IRS had was not shared, so I’m guessing yes, the IRS and FBI shared info but also guessing if it was actionable we’d have already heard about it. If not, Trump should say a prayer to the patron saint of incompetent bureaucrats and make a small (tax deductible) donation.

    About the only IRS form that could withstand that level of scrutiny would be the old 1040EZ so unless we hear soon from the IRS, Trump is probably more or less clean enough to wave off given the complexity of his return.

    I’m OK with a tax code complicated enough to spawn an entire cottage industry around itself, but this isn’t a cottage industry… its Dow 30

    steveg (e7a56b)

  321. steveg (e7a56b) — 4/6/2019 @ 8:07 pm

    Yes, I know his performances well.

    felipe (023cc9)

  322. Then somebody please explain Andrew McCabe finances.
    And OT explain how Comey was able to structure a legal way to leak by giving his best friend a consultancy with top level clearance… oh wait. he was so immersed in the law that he knew a way around it.

    I’m sure the IRS commissioners are full of tricks too.
    I guess if you are an outsider and not part of the elite you are SOL and to be prosecuted like the plebian you are
    Nevermind.

    steveg (e7a56b)

  323. happyfeet would never stoop to trying to evade the ban under a false name.

    nk (dbc370)

  324. 323… yes, you’re right, nk. I should’ve said it seems to be if little value here. At least to some folks.
    Self-imposed vacation, this should not be that important. I have to watch my blood pressure.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  325. I read one where they breathlessly discovered that Trump writes investment losses off against his gains, that he uses depreciation laws to depreciate buildings, and that he takes advantage of every thing he can. The DEVIL!

    I’m quickly losing respect for you.

    Patterico (5ca1cb)

  326. I am embarrassed that the POTUS hasn’t released his taxes and has only a bullsh!t excuse for it that only a moron could credit. I’m embarrassed that so many Americans are so eager to applaud and defend him for duplicitous behavior.

    Including many here. It is truly embarrassing.

    Patterico (5ca1cb)

  327. Much of this money came to Mr. Trump because he helped his parents dodge taxes. He and his siblings set up a sham corporation to disguise millions of dollars in gifts from their parents, records and interviews show. Records indicate that Mr. Trump helped his father take improper tax deductions worth millions more. He also helped formulate a strategy to undervalue his parents’ real estate holdings by hundreds of millions of dollars on tax returns, sharply reducing the tax bill when those properties were transferred to him and his siblings.

    These maneuvers met with little resistance from the Internal Revenue Service, The Times found.

    Dishonestly translated as “Trump writes investment losses off against his gains, that he uses depreciation laws to depreciate buildings, and that he takes advantage of every thing he can.”

    Patterico (5ca1cb)

  328. The most overt fraud was All County Building Supply & Maintenance, a company formed by the Trump family in 1992. All County’s ostensible purpose was to be the purchasing agent for Fred Trump’s buildings, buying everything from boilers to cleaning supplies. It did no such thing, records and interviews show. Instead All County siphoned millions of dollars from Fred Trump’s empire by simply marking up purchases already made by his employees. Those millions, effectively untaxed gifts, then flowed to All County’s owners — Donald Trump, his siblings and a cousin. Fred Trump then used the padded All County receipts to justify bigger rent increases for thousands of tenants.

    Fraud. Not smart tax avoidance. Fraud.

    Patterico (5ca1cb)

  329. I know: the NYT! They lie! Meanwhile Donald Trump tells the truth!

    Patterico (5ca1cb)

  330. If it was met with little resistance, it was probably legal under the laws at the time.
    The IRS doesn’t just roll over unless your pit bull has them by the neck… using their own rules.
    And what exactly is the “sham” here? Probably something that was legal and if he helped formulate a legal strategy to reduce the taxable value of real estate (see Kennedy use of real estate trusts) and if it wasn’t taxed, the IRS must have ruled the strategy was legal.
    They probably said “oh crap” and headed off to Congress to write a few more pages of code and remedy this nonsense quickly.

    The Kennedy’s formed a trust… I think it was the Vornado Realty Trust in partnership with the firm that sold the Merch Mart (I could be wrong) and the proceeds were shares placed into the trust. So very little tax was paid on the transaction. Shares are dispersed and cashed out as capital gains held long term.

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/carlodonnell/2014/07/08/how-the-1-billion-kennedy-family-fortune-defies-death-and-taxes-3/#76adab704e4a

    Sounds smart to me.

    steveg (e7a56b)

  331. If it was met with little resistance, it was probably legal under the laws at the time.
    The IRS doesn’t just roll over unless your pit bull has them by the neck… using their own rules.

    If you don’t get caught, it means what you were doing was fine.

    Patterico (5ca1cb)

  332. The NYT story can’t be news to the IRS.
    The All County thing reminds me of another client, a Kuwaiti who got a contract to provided food to the US military during the Gulf War.
    They were only allowed to mark up the groceries a small percentage, if I recall it was around or under 5%.
    So they legally created a score of acquiring, providing and distributing businesses that were legal “shell” corporations that found and purchased groceries, marked them up, charged shipping and then sold them to the parent company which then marked it all up the 5%.

    The NYT makes Trump sound shifty, but if it was legal… and if the IRS didn’t jump on them, it probably was legal at the time. If it was legal enough for the IRS to pass on.
    Also it must be good enough because the IRS and the state of NY are still passing on it.

    There is no statute of limitations on tax evasion “The IRS has no time limit if you never file a return or if it can prove civil or criminal fraud”
    https://www.americanbar.org/groups/business_law/publications/blt/2017/08/06_wood/

    steveg (e7a56b)

  333. It used to be legal to shoot someone in a duel.
    Do you want to go back and file charges under todays laws?
    No.
    That’d be ridiculous

    Maybe he didn’t get “caught” because shady as it looks now, back then it was legal.

    Do you believe that in all the years preceding Trump becoming President, that the IRS, knowing it had no time limit with tens of millions at stake took a pass? Or do you think the NYTimes caught Trump, but the IRS was too scared to use its unlimited time frame and reinvestigate?

    steveg (e7a56b)

  334. Inventing and exploiting legal loopholes isn’t shady. It is smart.
    If it wasn’t legal Trump would have paid tax, penalties, interest… although, idiot though you think he is, he probably would have hired someone smart enough to badger the IRS into waiving some part of that.

    My guess is Tax law isn’t as black and white as gang murder prosecutions.
    Tax law practice seems to go for the gray, and then the IRS and the opposition lawyers sit down and the gray turns either black or white, pay the price or not, and the next iteration of the code codifies the change. So the Tax lawyers immediately put that to the test by the next week… on and on

    steveg (e7a56b)

  335. The IRS is the most ruthless, aggressive federal agency I’ve ever dealt with but it seems the NYT wants me to believe that with Trump they curled in a ball and pissed themselves… maybe. Then get me his tax lawyer on the phone because he or she is a badass

    steveg (e7a56b)

  336. Illegal tax schemes that are not strictly cash leave evidence in paper trails. The smoking gun is always somewhere in the ledger. The forensic auditors of the IRS and FBI are the best in the business, particularly at the very high end.
    But I guess Trump was so shady that they all formed a little prayer circle, had a cry, and resigned. No one else has ever been able to summon the courage to finish the job.
    What a sad sad story.

    Trumps All County scheme would be simple and legal if you did it like this: Buy at the cheapest wholesale price in the land. Mark it up to nearly exact retail price plus cost, insurance, freight and whatever else your tax attorney says is legal. Sell it from one company held by you to another controlled by your relatives and use it on your projects. Have your tax attorney structure the corporation into a trust or LLC or whatever he/she says to handle free cash flow in a way that limits taxes and gives out shares that are held as capital gain.

    I have a corporation that rents my heavier equipment to my other company or indirect to the clients. I charge just under what the rental yard does, including the exorbitant $5 a gallon diesel, damage insurance etc.
    Its legal. I hire myself, my wife and our daughter for a salary and for a while it was a company with a medical reimbursement plan when my wife had to do two hip replacements. The rest of the money gets reinvested in new machinery.
    You’d be surprised at the elaborate structures those big privately held highway contractors use for equipment, sand and gravel quarries, concrete, transportation. Then again at $2,400,000 a mile in wide open spaces maybe you wouldn’t be surprised…

    steveg (e7a56b)

  337. I made a mistake.
    You would sell the wholesale material to the kids and then mark it up
    Sorry

    steveg (e7a56b)

  338. The short answer is that I don’t believe a word the NYT writes, and think their crossword puzzle is probably lies, too. The only thing I will say favorably about them is they are less blatent in their partisanship than the Washington Post.

    It wasn’t always that way, and it is sad. Democracy struggles when the press can’t be believed, as they are supposed to bring the truth. When they lie, and repeat the politicians’ lies, the end is certainly near.

    And, yes, TV news is bad too, from Hannity to NBC. All spin and lies.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  339. I know: the NYT! They lie! Meanwhile Donald Trump tells the truth!

    I am pretty sure I never said Trump tells the truth. I also never said Hillary does, either. I deeply regret that this is not Romney’s second term.

    I do believe Trump has rights though, and ought not be subject to political investigations under color of authority. He may well have legal issues with his financial dealings, but that has nothing to do with what is going on. The Democrat Party and its fellow travelers will be DAMNED if they will allow the full power of the office to be peacefully transferred to this man, and ANY means justifies the ends.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  340. @ nk: The distinction you draw (#234) between constitutional officers and other government employees is a principled one and interests me. We’ll see if Trump’s lawyers include it in their motion papers when, inevitably, this ends up in court. As always, I appreciate your thoughtful and succinct responses.

    @ Kevin M: I understand your frustration. No one can dispute that Trump has bitter enemies who are obsessed with what they view as his illegitimacy. But:

    The Dems didn’t prepare or file Trump’s tax returns. He did that: He made the decisions reflected in the returns and return information, and he approved the filing of that information with the IRS. Nancy Pelosi was not consulted and did not edit them. If there’s ugly stuff in them, Trump has no reasonable expectation that he’s entitled to hide those facts from the American public. The fact that Trump’s enemies are apesh!t is not a defense for Trump’s bad acts.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  341. The Dems didn’t prepare or file Trump’s tax returns. He did that: He made the decisions reflected in the returns and return information, and he approved the filing of that information with the IRS. Nancy Pelosi was not consulted and did not edit them. If there’s ugly stuff in them, Trump has no reasonable expectation that he’s entitled to hide those facts from the American public. The fact that Trump’s enemies are apesh!t is not a defense for Trump’s bad acts.

    Yes, all of this. But he’s been subjected, every year to audit after audit at both the state and federal level. Just as no one put a gun to his head to sign those returns, no one put a gun to the IRS’s head to sign off on them either. But they did. How many bites at the apple do they want?

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  342. Then again at $2,400,000 a mile in wide open spaces maybe you wouldn’t be surprised…

    I am convinced that if there are beings elsewhere in the universe, highway construction is self-dealing, bloated and pretty much crooked there, too.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  343. If there’s ugly stuff in them, Trump has no reasonable expectation that he’s entitled to hide those facts from the American public.

    Actually, I disagree with this. As I read the 4th Amendment, I don’t see the “except for ugly stuff” clause. Don’t see it in the 5th Amendment either. In order to subject citizens to an income tax, they are compelled to open their books and papers to government inspection.

    The fig leaf that is offered is that these disclosures are held confidential and used solely to determine tax liability, excepting for what is necessarily disclosed in a prosecution for tax fraud, will not be released. Every process that is in place is intended to ensure that no such release takes place, including the section our host quotes.

    And yet, I have yet to see ANYONE argue that, should the House committee gain access to these returns, that confidentiality will be assured. Ugly stuff or not. It is probably not any help to Trump that only assertions about the contest of the returns would be leaked since the only defense to that is to provide the actual returns, as Romney discovered.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  344. *content

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  345. Meanwhile, we can see why the Dems want to damage Trump so badly — they need to equalize the damage they are doing to themselves.

    In Iowa, Bernie Sanders says states should allow felons to vote from behind bars

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  346. “How many bites at the apple do they want?”

    Depends. How many apples ya got?

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  347. 324. Beldar (fa637a) — 4/6/2019 @ 9:16 pm

    I am embarrassed that the POTUS hasn’t released his taxes and has only a bullsh!t excuse for it that only a moron could credit.

    It’s not even that: It’s a non sequitor. To the extent it makes any sense, he seems to be saying that his returns are not yet ready = final.

    But he could release them in their current form, or a version that is revised to include all amendments agreed to, or something that indicates what he claims and what is being challenged by the IRS that he has not agreed to.

    About the forced financial disclosures by candidates and occupants of elected office: I don’t know what that’s based on. Some of it may be related to being allowed to form a committee to raise campaign funds. The larger justification for all of that is preventing corruption – it doesn’t really, but is allows people, on the one hand, to connect dots that aren’t there, and on the oyehr hand to compain about negative campaining and demand proof.

    An example of connecting dots that aren’t there is connecting Richard Cheney, who wasm by the way, on;y the Vice Presiden, to Halliburton, when he had sold his stock, and was due on;y fixed payments. Democrats insisted there was a conflict of interest even though there wasn’t, to the extent it was possible for one to be avoided, and they are doingthe same thing with Trump.

    108.

    A particular subset of idiots at Deutsche Bank have now been exposed as shallow, incompetent celebrity worshipers instead of prudent bankers. They personally, and Deutsche Bank as their employer, deserves every bit of ridicule they get over their history with Trump.

    The Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, hasa different idea. By him, they weren’t idiots. Adam Schiff wants to investigate if Deutche Bank was being used by the Russian government to funnel money to Donald Trump – this in spite of he fact that Robert Mueller probably looked into that accusation. They also see grest conflicts in the renting of hotel rooms – Trump as got shotrl near the White House – even though Trump promised to give the federal government any profits attributable to that (a difficult to calculate truthfully, though) There’s an accusation that maybe he’s stopping a competing hotel from being built by not moving the FBI headquarters or something.

    Sammy Finkelman (e70ce9)

  348. * 363 Bad typing

    Trump as got shotrl near the White House = Trump has got a hotel near the White House

    This was the one theyw anted to claim was illegal for him to lease – but he acquired the lease on the property before he was elected president. This hotel opened just before he became president.

    Sammy Finkelman (e70ce9)

  349. I am embarrassed that the POTUS hasn’t released his taxes and has only a bullsh!t excuse for it that only a moron could credit.

    It IS a problem that he lies when the truth will serve him better (“I don’t want to!” is understandable by all).

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  350. 153. 287. 196

    Re: Howardlz, the Starbucks guy. @urbanleftbehind @nk @frosty48

    Stephen Cohen, the great defender of Vladimir Putin on the John Bachelor show, (or maybe he’s anti-anti-Putin) mentioned in passing last week – I caught a snippet of it – that there many Starbucks coffee houses in Russia (in arguing how is Trump’s possible hotel that different?)

    Sammy Finkelman (e70ce9)

  351. he acquired the lease on the property before he was elected president. This hotel opened just before he became president.

    George Washington bought federal land in the new capital at auction while President, and his political enemies knew it and said nothing. Certainly they had read the Constitution, but this did not bother them. Trump’s acts are less.

    https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2937186

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  352. 363. Correction: The quote by Beldar about “a particular subset of idiots at Deutsche Bank” was 128, not 108.

    Sammy Finkelman (e70ce9)

  353. there many Starbucks coffee houses in Russia (in arguing how is Trump’s possible hotel that different?)

    And this is a point I keep making. The idea that one cannot operate a business that someone in the government — or someone from a foreign land — might do business with is designed to prevent a certain class of businessmen from serving in high office. Not everyone can (or is willing to) sell off their entrepreneurial enterprise to take a government job.

    So, under these rules, a Jeff Bezos, a Bill Gates, a Howard Shultz, a Bloomberg or Zuckerberg are all denied us even though their acumen and talent might be helpful in these dark days. Instead we get serial failures like Bernie.

    Trump’s solution (putting control in Jr’s hands) isn’t really very good, but it’s not the emoluments clause that drives this, it’s our distrust of our leaders (something Trump doesn’t help). We should maybe get over that someday.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  354. 369.

    The idea that one cannot operate a business that someone in the government — or someone from a foreign land — might do business with is designed to prevent a certain class of businessmen from serving in high office.

    This is especially important when considering elective office, rather than appointive office (where they design conflict of interest rules, or informal Senate requirements for confirmaiton, specifically so as not to prevent someone from taking tese jobs – although for some t does prevent them)

    It is especially important when it comes to elective office, mainly president, because these are the only kinds of people who can self-finance.

    There is a loophole around that, by the way, used by David Koch in 1980. He was the Libertarian Party nominee for vice president precisely so that he could contribute unlimited amounts of money to the Libertarian Party campaign. It wouldn’t work so easily for the Democratic and Republican parties because the vice president wouldn’t be able to contribute till after being nominated.

    Bit, who knwos? Maybe somebody seeking the Democraic Party nomination could link uo with Michael Bloomberg, who’d dec;are his candidac for vice president. We=hether that would be legal would be controversial, though.

    We would be much better off if someone could take enormous political contributions from some people, provided tha the universe of people who might give so much was much bigger than the number who ca. Say, let someone collect $100 million each from up to ten people – no more. And they could be one time contributions.

    Sammy Finkelman (e70ce9)

  355. So, under these rules, a Jeff Bezos, a Bill Gates, a Howard Shultz, a Bloomberg or Zuckerberg are all denied us even though their acumen and talent might be helpful in these dark days. Instead we get serial failures like Bernie.

    They’re not denied us, because these are not actually rules (except for the financial embarassment. Donald Trump did as little of that as possible.)

    The problem is that everybody else who’s not a career politician, except a Jeff Bezos, a Bill Gates, a Howard Shultz, a Michael Bloomberg or a Mark Zuckerberg is denied us, and we don’t have enough billionares to choose from. Many don’t want to run; many won’t be good.

    We need more people to be possible presidential candidates.

    Sammy Finkelman (e70ce9)

  356. When Trump first acquired the lease he wasn’t close to being president.

    I think this has the story:

    https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/03/23/521283505/gsa-says-trump-d-c-hotel-lease-is-valid-despite-ban-on-elected-officials

    Sammy Finkelman (e70ce9)

  357. Congressional oversight and authority is suddenly in vogue and championed, when it was out of fashion and ridiculed (see Nunes) when the target wasn’t Trump.

    Munroe (8b1c51)

  358. We need more people to be possible presidential candidates.

    The Democrats don’t have enough now?

    Some would argue the ease with which billionaires can self finance is grounds to limit self-financing, or to provide public funds to counter. Others, like me, will say that this just shows how stupid our entire campaign-finance scheme is. Gene McCarthy was right.

    Much simpler: anyone can donate as much as they want to a candidate, with everything over, say, $5000 being immediately public. Persons who intend to do business with the resulting regime may want to keep that “public” thing in mind. Groups may also participate, so long as any donor with more than 1% of recent donations is identified in every ad.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  359. They’re not denied us, because these are not actually rules

    So many people, including our host, argue they should be, or are.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  360. @319. “Isn’t ANYONE embarrassed by the lengths they are willing to go to GET TRUMP!11!!?” Go sell rationality elsewhere, they place no value on it here.

    You tell’em, Haiku- after all, “…people have got to know whether or not their president is a crook…” Well, he’s not a crook. He’s earned everything he’s got!!

    But just in case, dust for jowl prints…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QgTeYHHGtQM

    “What America needs are leaders to match the greatness of her people.” – The Big Dick, August, 1968

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  361. 324

    I am embarrassed that the POTUS hasn’t released his taxes and has only a bullsh!t excuse for it that only a moron could credit. …

    It seems sensible enough to me. I expect that when Trump files his taxes he takes a bunch of aggressive positions. I expect that when the IRS looks at them they flag and challenge some of these positions. I expect they haggle for a while and then come to some compromise position.

    It’s kind of like plea bargaining, the government doesn’t have the resources to take every case to trial so they are willing to deal.

    I expect that Trump reasonably believes that he would get a less favorable deal if these negotiations were conducted in public.

    I realize he is also refusing to release returns that are probably out of audit. However they may raise the same issues as returns that are still in audit.

    James B. Shearer (92a19f)

  362. We need more people to be possible presidential candidates.

    374. Kevin M (21ca15) — 4/7/2019 @ 8:44 am

    The Democrats don’t have enough now?

    There’s not enough variety.

    The problem with professional politicians is that every one of them (feels at least) they have to sign up to a whole list of litmus tests in order to run, and many of them are not good, or far from ideal, with the result they are either more or less honest, more or less incompetent fools, or they are dishonest knaves who know what they are advocating is wrong.

    This is because the problem exists also on the Congressional level – too many people are dependent on party or other well organized funding. It’s not because no one can get elected without signing up to stuff.

    Some would argue the ease with which billionaires can self finance is grounds to limit self-financing, or to provide public funds to counter.

    The self-financing is the only hope around the system, aside from some form of nepotism, which can also get in someone different.

    Sammy Finkelman (e70ce9)

  363. 346

    If you don’t get caught, it means what you were doing was fine.

    The issue is more that nobody gets caught. They are laws on the books against adultery but they haven’t been enforced for a long time. Which means that adultery has become legal as a practical matter.

    IIRC the NYT article actually said a lot of the sort of things (such as transactions between related parties at other than market prices) they were accusing Fred Trump of using to avoid taxes are common but rarely (by which I suspect they mean never) challenged by the IRS. If over a long period of time the IRS never challenges certain common practices that reduce taxes they become effectively legal.

    James B. Shearer (92a19f)

  364. Confess!!!!!!11!!!!!

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  365. Kevin M:

    Others, like me, will say that this just shows how stupid our entire campaign-finance scheme is. Gene McCarthy was right.

    It may not be all that stupid. The Post-Watergate campaign finance reforms may have been designed to enhance the possibilities for political corruption.

    Campaign finance laws limited individual contributions to extremely low amounts of money, with no exception even for starter funds, but they allowed PACs, (Political Action Committees) which are organized to influence legislation, to give much higher amounts. Oher exceptions are political parties and other politicians, I think.

    The exact opposite of what should have been done, which should have favored individual contributions and greatly limited, if not abolished, PACs, which basically didn’t exist before, if I am right.

    When an individual gives money to a politician, he or she can have twenty or a hundred motives, while PACS tend to be much more directed toward specific goals.

    Sammy Finkelman (e70ce9)

  366. 377. I think one Trump family strategy on taxes was to make very questionable claims when calculating taxes, and then quickly agree to some thing if the IRS or other auditor would quickly go away with a huge recovery for the government, which helped their careers. I think sometimes there came a second audit. Or a third, after that. I got that out of something I read.

    Sammy Finkelman (e70ce9)

  367. It is actually hard to go to jail on tax evasion. Understating income or making up deductions out of whole cloth (e.g. non-existent children) are likely to do it, but claiming your new dishwasher as a home office expense probably just gets disallowed.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  368. The Post-Watergate campaign finance reforms may have been designed to enhance the possibilities for political corruption.

    That’s silly. What reason would Congressmen have to encourage political corruption!?

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  369. Public funds to counter would not be a bad thing, although not that much of a good thing either. I think a court ruled you couldn’t lift the limits just for opponents of self-financed candidates who spent more, but this is getting into legal arguments.

    And the way public funding or matching funds works is crazy. They all have to do with raising qualifying amounts of money in certain ways (no more than X number of dollars counts from each contributor, and there is often geographical diversity required also.)

    This favors people already in politics, or who have really studied the system AND are almost professional campaigner, if not professional politicians. A lot of socialists fall into this category, Bernard Sanders is one who actually managed to eventually get elected (as mayor of Burlington first, in 1981, because basically he ran on constituent service to get elected mayor by a small margin.)

    If you want public financing of campaigns, just give anyone who contributes to a candidate almost immediate dollar for dollar rebates through the income tax or Social Security system (or even the banking system) and you can do this with a cap as to how much someone could get per quarter, but include some ability to attribute a contribuuution to the neighboring quarter.

    A Lyndon LaRouche wouldn’t get a lot of money that way.

    And if somebody uses the system to pay for babysitting, that’s fine. That’ll get more candidates into the race, and we need them. some might get elected, and be good.

    Also, let candidates outsource all their bookkeeping and reporting of campaign contributions to a bank or something. who would charge a fee, and only release to the candidate what had been properly accouned for.

    We’ve got to do something about the in-kind contributions too, which can include not only plane trips, but volunteer legal and accounting services I think.

    Much simpler: anyone can donate as much as they want to a candidate, with everything over, say, $5000 being immediately public. Persons who intend to do business with the resulting regime may want to keep that “public” thing in mind.

    It would be enough to allow, but limit the number of people a candidate could take more than $5,000. If too many people gave more their moe cold be used in part to reimburse the early low-high contributors.

    Groups may also participate, so long as any donor with more than 1% of recent donations is identified in every ad.

    This does leave room for Twitter mobs and so on. But some people would contribute, It’s $2,800 per person now for presdient, doubled for acouple, and doubled again if the contribution is both for the primary and the general election but general election money must be segregated if given before the convention.

    When the major party candidates were accepting federal funds, with no private money allowed, conventions were pushed into late August or even September, to enable primary dollars to be raised and spent longer. Now that they no longer do, because they were too low, and also had state by state limits, the conventions are going back to earlier in the summer

    There’s a story here. In 2007, Obama and McCain agreed to accept federal funding of the general election campaign if they both wound up as their party’s nominees. I think McCain was floundering at the time. But it happened, and Obama broke his first campaign promise even before his election.

    Sammy Finkelman (e70ce9)

  370. 384. Now it was campaign funds that the PACs gave, which they couldn’t use for personal benefit….until they left office.

    I think all that changed with Congressman first elected after 1992. Or maybe that was the year even the older incumbents couldn’t retire and put leftover campaign funds in their personal bank accounts. That did change in two stages, but I need to check the details.

    The real thing was that it gave a lot of advantages to incumbents because the PACs would be much more interested in giving money to people already on committees. And having a large campaign bank account discouraged challengers and giving money to challegers. So results could come close to being be bought even without any money going into anyone’s pocket. There was an electoral reason to assemble campaign bank accounts way beyond what anybody probably needed. A potential challenger could not compete, or would be thought unable.

    It helped that the size of the campaign bankroll of a member of Congress was publicly reported. Senator Schumer (and I guess Gillibrand) is notorious for scaring off possible challengers that way.

    Also House and Senate campaign committees often asked members to give some of their campaign money to other candidates (legal) which they did for campaign assignments and other things, and this also encouraged members to rake in the dollars so they could. This is still going on.

    Sammy Finkelman (e70ce9)

  371. The campaign finance laws already limited political competition in 1972. That was the first year that a Presdential caniddate dropped out, not because he had no opes, but becase he had no money.

    That was Ed Muskie after the March, 1972 Florida primary. This should not happen

    Hubert Humphrey stayed in, although he was not so popular, because he had some bigger campaign contributors, who gave money before the campaign contribution limits kicked in on April 7, 1972.

    These laws also prevented anyone new from jumping into the primary race late, when he saw the way the votes were going, and the thought occurred this person would be a compromise, or a better choice. Jerry Brown I think knew how to run campaigns on a shoestring in 1976 and 1992.

    Sammy Finkelman (e70ce9)

  372. “That was Ed Muskie after the March, 1972 Florida primary. This should not happen.”

    What shouldn’t have happened was that he broke down crying, IIRC. But I may have him confused with another Dem.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  373. In 1976, people were desperate to stop Jimmy Carter, but couldn’t. Jimmy Carter manipulated the press too. He convinced the media, based on lies, that he was a serious candidate, and he did such a good job of it, that he was eventually elected president!

    That didn’t make it the truth.

    Jimmy Carter made up a story about being a fresh face to explain his support in Iowa polls. The press didn’t understand he was showing up so high in the polls in Iowa, because he had greater name recognition there because he campaigned there for a year or longer without any other candidate being there.

    They also didn’t understand that people around the country were not familiar with Senator Henry M. (Scoop) Jackson, for instance, who had only 10% name recognition in Iowa at the beginning of 1976. But reporters were much more familiar with him, but they didn’t realize it.

    And Jimmy Carter got votes in the south because he was an alternative to George Wallce – then at the end got George Wallace to endorse him.

    And in the last primary, when the final 3 important primaries on June 6, 1976 came, with Jimmy Carter losing in California and in New Jersey which had an uncomitteed organization “Humphrey-Brown” slate (Humphrey for president Brown for vice president – they later betrayed their voters) and Ohio the only big state in question.

    Jimmy Carter went to Mayor Richard J. Daley of Chicago and got him to agree that if he won the Ohio primary he should be the nominee. Then, in Ohio he argued that anyone voting for uncommitted (I think it was) was really voting for Hubert Humphrey and the nominee should be someone running in the primaries, and Hubert Humphrey was not running in the primaries in 1976 and therefore it should be him QED.

    With all that, Jimmy Carter got only about 37% of the primary vote in 1976, and many people actively didn’t want him because they knew he was a liar (something which people a little bit forgot, I don’t know why) but then he got other candidates to drop out and endorse him in sequence and became the 1976 Democratic Party nominee, and eventually president.

    People had been almost desperate to STOP Jimmy Carter. They were voting for Jerry Brown for president!

    The Ford campaign did not expose many of Jimmy Carter’s lies (or flip flops) because a lot of it was only in newspapers and they didn’t have the videotape, and they somehow felt they couldn’t use it.

    THe AFL-CIO eventually endorsed him for the general election on the grounds he was a Democrat and Democrats are better for the economy.

    Eventually Jimmy Carter ran out of luck and Ronald Reagan was elected president in 1980, despite having even having cultivated a reputation for years as a far right winger. People took a second look, and Jimmy Carter had damaged the economy and Ronald Reagan asked are you better off now than you were four years ago. This made the AFL-CIO endorsement of 1976 come back to bite him.

    And then he showed nothing but incompetence in dealing with the Iranian hostage crisis, always expecting it to send soon. It wasn’t failure – it was expecting success. It became a case study.

    And Jews didn’t trust on Israel, either.

    Sammy Finkelman (e70ce9)

  374. Bill Clinton planned in 1988 to use a southern strategy similar to what Jimmy Carter did in 1976, (run as the southern candidate – that’s a pretty big swath of the country to be favorite son from)
    and had created Super Tuesday for this purpose.

    But he dropped out before he began because he couldn’t become the only southern candidate after Al Gore dropped back in. I don’t think his decision not run in July 1987 had anything to do with bimbos, or of course, with wanting to spend more time with his daughter Chelsea.

    Clinton then got behind Dukakis in order to ensure he got another chance in 1992, because who better to lose than a Massachusetts Democrat, who was from the only state McGovern carried in 1972?

    And he got his own man at the DNC, Ron Brown, pushed by Jesse Jackson but negotiated by Bill Clinton. Clinton was also working with Jesse Jackson who sopped up votes of southern blacks.

    I would look for Bill Clinton for an explanation as to who got both Gary Hart and Joe Biden out of the 1988 presidential race. He needed to get the front runner out of the race in May, and later, in Septemeber, he needed it to be Dukakis, so that the Democrat would lose.

    Sammy Finkelman (e70ce9)

  375. Mr. Shearer wrote at #377:

    I expect that when the IRS looks at them they flag and challenge some of these positions. I expect they haggle for a while and then come to some compromise position.

    It’s kind of like plea bargaining, the government doesn’t have the resources to take every case to trial so they are willing to deal.

    I expect that Trump reasonably believes that he would get a less favorable deal if these negotiations were conducted in public.

    Nonsense on stilts. I repeat: The IRS already has his returns and return information. Unless you presume — against the evidence — that the IRS can’t figure out its own positions on whether to challenge any of Trump’s positions without the NYT telling it what to do, the public release of the same information that the IRS already has cannot possibly have any effect on what the IRS does in its negotiations, and by no means does that compel Trump and the IRS to negotiate in public.

    I repeat: This is an excuse that only a moron could credit. It is utterly illogical. I challenge Mr. Shearer or anyone else to turn this sack of cr@p into a coherent argument, or else to admit that it’s a scak of cr@p.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  376. Ciolonel Haiku @ 388. The crying was nothing, and also justified. He was the victim of dirty tricks by the Nixon campaign. The Canuck letter by Segretti.

    Ed Muskie just didn’t do so well in the Florida primary. But that was not the reason to quit. he said he quit because of money. That had never hapened before ina presidential race.

    Sammy Finkelman (e70ce9)

  377. Confess!!!!!!!eleventy!!!!!

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  378. @ Kevin M, who wrote (#355):

    Actually, I disagree with this. As I read the 4th Amendment, I don’t see the “except for ugly stuff” clause. Don’t see it in the 5th Amendment either. In order to subject citizens to an income tax, they are compelled to open their books and papers to government inspection.

    Kevin, when you turn information over to the government yourself, you have no claim under any amendment, not the Fourth nor the Fifth nor any other, to confidentiality from the government with respect to that information.

    The government didn’t swoop into Trump’s home in a warrantless search to seize his tax returns. He mailed (or emailed) them to the IRS. When they asked for backup (return information), he voluntarily provided it.

    Any conceivable privacy claim he has as to that information is already long-since waived. You know this. You surely must be embarrassed to have it pointed out to you, no? So I suggest you ask yourself: Why is your sympathy for Trump making you rush into statements that, with even 10 seconds close thought, you’ll realize are ridiculous?

    Beldar (fa637a)

  379. There are indeed crackpots who’ve argued that the tax laws’ requirement that they file tax returns violates their Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. When they make that argument in court, they are routinely rejected and usually punished for a frivolous filing, just like the people who argue that since we left the goal standard, money isn’t real.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  380. 389. Pubk,ic opinion can affect what the IRS does – why not? The IRS may have agreed to something that isn’t quite sound.

    Or what if Trump’s position is legally better than politically palatable?

    I guess what you’re saying is that Trump could be afraid of the political consequences of sticking to his position more than he’s afraid of rulings against him.

    But another quesiton – is there much still up in the air, or is Trump just avoiding closing the case because it is some kind of an excuse? No final disposition = return not yet ready.

    Do we know anyway what is the truth about the status of the audit(s)? Now it is true that later tax returns can cause earlier ones to be re-opened.

    Sammy Finkelman (e70ce9)

  381. Maybe he didn’t get “caught” because shady as it looks now, back then it was legal.

    Nope. It was illegal.

    Do you believe that in all the years preceding Trump becoming President, that the IRS, knowing it had no time limit with tens of millions at stake took a pass? Or do you think the NYTimes caught Trump, but the IRS was too scared to use its unlimited time frame and reinvestigate?

    I believe they don’t catch everyone and they are now too scared to reinvestigate.

    Patterico (5ca1cb)

  382. @ Kevin M, who also wrote (#359):

    The fig leaf that is offered is that these disclosures are held confidential and used solely to determine tax liability, excepting for what is necessarily disclosed in a prosecution for tax fraud, will not be released. Every process that is in place is intended to ensure that no such release takes place, including the section our host quotes.

    And this also is exactly backwards. Read the statute again. It says “the [IRS] Secretary shall furnish such committee with any return or return information specified in such request.”

    We’re all presumed to know the law. Anyone who looks at this statute can tell that the specified committees “shall” be provided the returns and return info upon request. The statute itself doesn’t even contain a limitation upon the reasons for the request, but if we engraft onto it a requirement that it be made for some arguable legislative purpose — a ridiculously easy standard that Chairman Dean’s letter had zero trouble exceeding! — this is not a statute that protects your tax returns from Congressional investigation, but the opposite of that. The plain purpose and effect of this statute is to confirm that you don’t have a privacy right in your tax returns as against Congress, except to the extent this statute itself specifies.

    As for the requirement that information identifiable as belonging to a particular taxpayer — which this clearly is — be “furnished” only in “closed executive session,” I agree with you that that’s thin if any protection from subsequent disclosure. I further agree that the Dems on the House Ways & Means Committee, having so received Trump’s returns and return information in closed executive session, can and indeed will promptly vote to make it all public, and they’ll send out an email blast with .pdf copies of everything to every news organization in sight and post it for review and download on the Committee’s own website — whereupon the public scrutiny of Trump’s taxes that ought to have been conducted during the 2016 campaign will finally begin.

    I think that is a spectacularly good prospect and a fine precedent, and that Trump will be getting exactly, precisely what he deserves now, having gotten away with stonewalling for 2+ years without political consequence.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  383. Here’s one such case, just as an example. From Garner v. United States, 424 U.S. 648 (1976):

    This case involves a nontax criminal prosecution in which the Government introduced petitioner’s income tax returns to prove the offense against him. The question is whether the introduction of this evidence, over petitioner’s Fifth Amendment objection, violated the privilege against compulsory self-incrimination when petitioner made the incriminating disclosures on his returns instead of then claiming the privilege.

    ….

    In United States v. Sullivan, 274 U. S. 259 (1927), the Court held that the privilege against compulsory self-incrimination is not a defense to prosecution for failing to file a return at all. But the Court indicated that the privilege could be claimed against specific disclosures sought on a return, saying:

    If the form of return provided called for answers that the defendant was privileged from making he could have raised the objection in the return, but could not on that account refuse to make any return at all.

    ….

    [I]n the ordinary case, if a witness under compulsion to testify makes disclosures instead of claiming the privilege, the government has not “compelled” him to incriminate himself.

    Thus, even though filing the return was compelled (and due process according in connection therewith), Trump’s failure to claim any Fifth Amendment constitutional privilege waived any such claim for purposes of future proceedings against the government.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  384. what that has to do with the price of bread, I’ll never know:

    https://spectator.org/cultural-marxism-and-its-conspirators/

    narciso (d1f714)

  385. sammeh carter could get officials like brady Tyson of the ips into positions, that fred harris or frank church couldn’t yes he had a blue chip cabinet in cy vance, who was secretary of the army, was largely responsible for the strategy in Vietnam, a technocrat like Harold brown, but Anthony lake who boasted over his resignation over Cambodia was emblematic,

    narciso (d1f714)

  386. Just a hunch, but suspect if you polled citizens and proposed the choice of having candidates for high national office make available either their tax returns or their health records, the ‘average’ Joe and Josephine would rather evaluate a person’s fitness for any gig, with so many lives and responsibilities at stake, based on their health status.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  387. 402. I don’t need to know Donald J. Trump’s health status or financial particulars to know that he’s unfit for office.

    Gryph (08c844)

  388. @402. He’s ‘fit’ per the Constitution. So what are your parameters?

    Just look at a few of the past office holders… Wilson’s stroke was kept hidden as the wife managed the affairs of state; FDR’s doctors hid his heart issues from voters, was elected to Term 4 and died in office; Truman swore like sailor; Ike saved Europe but fibbed about the U2 and had heart issues; before he was shot, the promiscuous JFK was shot-up full of pain killers and craved a-woman-a-day; LBJ had heart and gall bladder issues, lied repeatedly and thousands died needlessly in Vietnam; turns out The Big Dick was a crook but re-elected in a ’72 landslide; Reagan and early symptoms of ALZ and so on and so on… but by the Constitution, they were ‘fit’ to hold the office.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  389. ^403

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  390. “Eligible for office” is not the same as “fit for office.”

    Beldar (fa637a)

  391. @406. That’s simply a judgment in the eye – or mind set- of the beholder; unless yo want to grind him through the 25th Amendment machinery. Any Trumpster would say he’s both ‘eligible’ and ‘fit’ [his doctor say he fit for sure] and the best president ever– chances are his Cabinet would concur.

    ______

    Speaking of the Cabinet; DHS Secretary cancelled: poor Nielsen ratings.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  392. @404:

    …but by the Constitution, they were ‘fit’ to hold the office.

    Being constitutionally qualified to hold an office, and being “fit” for that office, are separate matters. I’m sure there are some very bright, well-educated, moral individuals whom I would consider “fit” to be president, but who are not constitutionally qualified on the grounds that they are thirty years old. Meanwhile, Charlie Sheen is constitutionally qualified to be president, but lacks the education, temperament, and morals necessary to execute the duties of the office in an acceptable manner, and is therefore “unfit.” In fact, I’m quite sure there are millions of people who would be constitutionally qualified to hold the chief magistracy, yet would fail any reasonable voter’s tests of fitness, whatever those tests were.

    However, you didn’t need that explained, did you? There are literally no reasonable grounds to suspect that Donald Trump is not constitutionally qualified. You may not know the particular things that make Trump unfit by Gryph’s standards, but you know perfectly well that Gryph is referring to something in Trump’s behavior and/or demonstrated public character.

    Demosthenes (7fae81)

  393. Don’t believe Trumpsters would care if Trump stole the Brooklyn Bridge but if he jumped off it into the East River dressed in a rooster outfit after crowing in the dawn every Tuesday morning there might be some questions raised.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  394. @408. Who says? You? That’s why people vote and clearly the decided Trump was ‘qualified’ and ‘fit’ and the greatest scumbag president ever!

    Charlie Sheen 2020!

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  395. @ 407:

    That’s simply a judgment in the eye – or mind set- of the beholder…

    It is not simply my judgment that Donald Trump lacks the character necessary to be president. It is a fact, demonstrated over decades by his public behavior. The same thing is true of Hillary Clinton, as if that needed to be said.

    Therefore, the apparent acceptability of Clinton and Trump to our citizenry, as nominees for the highest office in the land, indicates a severe problem with our national character. But we should all have known that already, too.

    Demosthenes (7fae81)

  396. 404. I said “fit for office,” not “eligible for office.” By those criteria, Bill Clinton was eligible for office.

    408.

    You may not know the particular things that make Trump unfit by Gryph’s standards, but you know perfectly well that Gryph is referring to something in Trump’s behavior and/or demonstrated public character.

    Thank you, Demosthenes. I will not elaborate further at this time.

    407.

    Any Trumpster would say…

    You can stop right there. I didn’t vote for Trump in 2016 and I am not going to vote for him in 2020. Whatever “any Trumpster” would say, I don’t fit that description.

    Gryph (08c844)

  397. @408. ‘Fitness’ as a parameter is wholly subjective.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  398. 411. Again…I didn’t pull the lever for Trump. I didn’t pull the lever for Hillary. That was a false choice engineered by people in power over a broken system. I desired neither of those crooks in the Oval Office, but I had no recourse.

    Gryph (08c844)

  399. 414. This is why we can’t have nice things, America. SMDH

    Gryph (08c844)

  400. 413) the people in power, have made it clear who they wanted, and the beatings will continue till they get their way, all the way,

    narciso (d1f714)

  401. @407; See #257. Remember, 63 million Americans voted for him aware of his ‘fitness’ for the gig.

    @413. See above.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  402. @ 414

    Fitness’ as a parameter is wholly subjective.

    Wrong. There can be reasonable disagreements between people about certain aspects of what might constitute fitness, or morality, or excellence, or any other such term — excatly what sorts of things might be components, how they should be weighted, etc. But “wholly subjective” means that all answers to a question might be equally correct, as long as they fit the answerer’s arbitrary or prejudicial set of criteria. That is simply not the case here.

    Pick any two candidates from the 2016 Republican field, excepting Trump. You and I might have reasonable disagreements over whether, say, Jeb or Cruz was MORE fit. But setting aside policy preferences and looking simply at them as men, they were both fit to hold the office. The same would be true of, say, Jim Webb or Bernie Sanders.

    But “wholly subjective” means that if I say that, having looked at all possible options for casting my vote, I think that I’m going to write in Carrot Top — who is clearly the fittest person to be president — you have no grounds for arguing. That seems obviously false.

    Demosthenes (7fae81)

  403. Great… now we get OrangeManUnfunny…

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  404. 418. That means there were approximately 162 million voting-age Americans who didn’t. I was among them. Where’s my voice?

    Gryph (08c844)

  405. @412. Who says he lack the “character?” You? Who died and put “you” in charge of chraracter assessment for national office?? 63 million Americans felt otherwise, saw the goods and bought the package.

    If you wanna try to defeat him in the next cycle or primary him by labelling him a ‘scumbag,’ and ‘unfit’ good luck w/that.

    Again, see #257. There’s a reason Dallas -and The Apprentice– were popular w/Americans and ran as long as they did on TV:

    JR Ewing… just like Trump– the bad boys everybody loves to hate.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  406. @419. Actually, right.

    And you short-circuited your own POV by employing the term ‘morality’– another wholly subjective parameter.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  407. Elaborating on #419:

    It is largely a subjective matter whether I prefer peas or green beans as a side for my Sunday lunch. But if I say that I’m trying to decide between peas or AAA batteries, I hope someone would step in.

    There is no clear objective method of determining whether Casablanca or Citizen Kane is the better film. But anyone would be, and should be, laughed at for seriously promoting the merits of Robot Monster.

    “De gustibus non disputandum est” is a nice principle when kept within its limits. But it has limits. Refusal to honor them can only lead to disaster.

    Demosthenes (7fae81)

  408. 423. Morality? Subjective? I guess in a day and age where baby killing is defended with all the fervor of a tentpole revival meeting, I shouldn’t be surprised at this.

    Gryph (08c844)

  409. @424. Your ‘argument’ is really w/t 63 million Americans who put hi in office b voting for him w/eyes and ears wide open.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  410. 426. Even though 162+ million voting-age Americans did not. Don’t leave that out.

    Gryph (08c844)

  411. @425. Morality? Subjective?

    Sure– ask the folks once considered only 3/5ths of a person.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  412. 428. Uh, you do realize that the 3/5 compromise was so that the slaveholders wouldn’t have as much voting power in congress as they wanted, right? If slaves were treated as whole people the power of the southern states in The House would have been GROSSLY disproportionate, and in the Senate it would have been even worse! Go back to your gated community if you’re going to trot out that tired liberal trope.

    Gryph (08c844)

  413. @427. They had a choice whether or not to participate; so you’d advocate mandatory voting?! Then hear from the folks who believe it’s a right to choose not to vote.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  414. @ 422:

    Who says he lack the “character?” You? Who died and put “you” in charge of chraracter assessment for national office?

    It is not about what I say or don’t say. As you continually state, 63 million people said otherwise. (Which is an ad populum, but we’ll set that aside for the moment.) It is about what is, and what is patently obvious. Whether other people see that or not, whether they agree with it or not, whether they care or not, is beyond my capacity to affect — clearly, or we wouldn’t still be having this discussion.

    @ 423:

    …you short-circuited your own POV by employing the term ‘morality’– another wholly subjective parameter.

    Morality is not “wholly subjective.” Cultures thousand of miles and hundreds of years apart may have disagreed about means to certain ends, but the ends themselves are remarkably similar. People may disagree on how to school their children, but no one of good will seriously disputes the duty to help their children by securing for them an education. People may disagree on whether we best honor our dead by burial or cremation or consumption, but no one of good will seriously disputes our duty to honor our dead. People may disagree on what constitutes murder in certain penumbraic cases, but no one of good will seriously disputes that murder is wrong. That remains true in ancient China, and medieval Arabia, and modern America.

    Demosthenes (7fae81)

  415. 391

    Nonsense on stilts. I repeat: The IRS already has his returns and return information. Unless you presume — against the evidence — that the IRS can’t figure out its own positions on whether to challenge any of Trump’s positions without the NYT telling it what to do, the public release of the same information that the IRS already has cannot possibly have any effect on what the IRS does in its negotiations, and by no means does that compel Trump and the IRS to negotiate in public.

    I expect it normally goes something like this. Trump files his returns. The IRS examines them and flags 10 issues. Since Trump’s routines are complicated and the IRS doesn’t have unlimited resources it is possible they will miss a couple of issues they would have flagged if they had noticed them. Putting that aside the IRS will claim Trump’s treatment of the 10 issues they have flagged is incorrect. Trump’s people will take the position that his return is in fact correct as filed. They will haggle a while and reach a compromise in which for example Trump accepts the IRS position on 5 issues and the IRS accepts Trump’s position on the other 5.

    Now when these negotiations are private the IRS can reach a compromise without fear of setting adverse precedents. But if they are public then if the IRS accepts Trump’s position on some issues everyone else in those situations will demand similar treatment. This will make any concessions by the government as part of a compromise much costlier to the government and make the IRS less inclined to compromise and more inclined to go to trial. So Trump is less likely to get a favorable deal as I said before.

    James B. Shearer (92a19f)

  416. 430. I will almost certainly exercise that right in 2020, so you can quit putting words in my mouth. As for the way you casually toss around the word “subjective,” I do not think that word means what you think it means.

    Gryph (08c844)

  417. DCSCA, answer me these questions. Given that both Jared Polis (Governor of Colorado) and Mariah Carey (pop star) are both constitutionally qualified to be president:

    1) Which would you vote for if you had to choose between the two?

    2) If Polis and Carey were your only human choices, but you had the third option of abstaining, which option would you choose?

    3) If Polis and Carey were your only human choices, but you had the third option of writing in someone else’s name, which option would you choose? (You don’t have to say who you would write in.)

    4a) Is there at least one person who is constitutionally qualified to be president that you would prefer to my two arbitrary choices? Again, you don’t have to say who.
    4b) On what grounds would you prefer them?
    4c) If your answer to 4a) was “yes,” and I were to say I was voting for Mariah Carey because I thought she was the best person for the job, would you disagree with my opinion — and if so, on what grounds?

    Demosthenes (7fae81)

  418. @432. Morality is not wholly subjective.

    Except it is. End of story.

    But encourage you to try to knock the Trumpster off his pedestal of brassy clay. Again, read #257; better people than “you” have tried over the decades. Ask any NYer. Half-kidding when saying the only living American who can possibly beat Trump at- and with- his own game in this day and age is—- Oprah Winfrey.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  419. And Larry Hogan will be your standard bearer, can you even approach consensus on that, that was the problem last time, they didn’t rally around cruz, even among the most likely coalition partners,

    narciso (d1f714)

  420. @434. See 435:

    Oprah 2020!

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  421. 435. So we have had argumentum ad assertum, and a vox populi argument from the same person regarding the same issue in this very thread. QED.

    Gryph (08c844)

  422. @ 435:

    Except it is. End of story.

    Except it isn’t. And I notice you didn’t even try to respond to my examples of why it’s not.

    Demosthenes (7fae81)

  423. 439. You’re wasting your time, Dem. When someone makes an appeal to an assertion or vox populi, I find there’s very little to dissuade them.

    Gryph (08c844)

  424. Given DCSCA’s comment at #437, I think I can safely assume that he is no longer arguing in good faith, if he ever was. And though I can’t assume he’s realized that he is arguing for a position which is ultimately untenable, I think I have shown that he is, in fact, arguing for an untenable position.

    Any attempt by DCSCA to seriously answer my questions of #434 would make the following two things obvious: 1) that he does believe there are standards for selecting a president which go beyond the merely constitutional, and 2) that he does believe people with radically different standards of qualification are wrong. He believes those things, by the way, because they’re true. It’s a shame that he insists on clowning.

    Demosthenes (7fae81)

  425. @439. But it is. That you don’t like that it is is something which irritates your personal sense of “morality”– and fueled Trump’s election in the first place.

    You just don’t get it; or worse, see, fear and loathe it.
    _____

    @441. It’s a waste of electrons to argue w/ideologues.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  426. Subjective or not, I think what Richard Neal is doing is immoral, and if we could prove that he is deriving a material benefit from it also illegal under the honest services provision of the mail fraud statute.

    nk (dbc370)

  427. @442. There’s nothing to argue. But rather than simmer in your disappointment, work on who and where you want to be with in 2024; as it’s clear from perusing the current field full of young weasels and old hedgehogs that none of ’em are gonna beat him. The best chance you’ve got of getting him OOO, aside from a depression, is feeding him more chocolate cream pie and cheeseburgers.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  428. whereupon the public scrutiny of Trump’s taxes that ought to have been conducted during the 2016 campaign will finally begin.

    This is kinda like making jokes about someone getting raped in prison and deserving it.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  429. Beldar–

    Again, I see no reason to suppose that any candidate HAS to divulge financial data. The only reason Congressmen do is because their House mandates it by rule. Other officials are NOT required to do so. Yes, Trump is a jerk, and should have just said “I don’t want to, deal with it”, but even jerks have rights.

    You argue that the House committee can demand these returns by law, but that law also says that they cannot be made public. Portions of said law (and other laws) have penalties for government employees who unlawfully make a return public, and I do not see any exemption for Congressmen. Perhaps you could point it out for me.

    But anyway, you admit that 1) they really don’t intend to do a damn thing with the returns, except 2) make them public unlawfully, and then go on to cheer this.

    So much for the Rule of Law.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  430. And chopping down the Law to get at the Devil has been discussed before.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  431. OMG- how could anybody with any sense and standards of “morality” have voted for Reagan; a candidate for president who not only knocked up Nancy w/Patti before marrying her — he was.. dare it be said….divorced! How utterly immoral. 😉

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  432. BTW (398), no, I didn’t have it backward, I just viewed the prohibitions against public distribution as a very fundamental part of the provision, rather than an afterthought. Do you have an explanation of the in-camera section of that law that does NOT imply a prohibition against public distribution of returns from identifiable persons?

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  433. @425. Morality is subjective: my late grandmother went to her grave insisting it was completely and totally immoral to buy anything ‘made in Japan’ after Pearl Harbor. By the early 1980’s, toward the end of her life, finding her a new TeeVee set that wasn’t was quite the challenge.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  434. @ 443:

    Finer minds than yours have disproved relativism. Your insistence that it does, in fact, hold troubles me not in the least. Especially since you refuse to even try responding to my counterexamples.

    You just don’t get it; or worse, see, fear and loathe it.

    Then I’m afraid that, from your perspective, it’s the worse of the two options. Of course, that’s not a fair statement of my position. However, yes, I do see the breakdown in national morality, character, and intellect that allowed Trump and Clinton to be the only two viable options in 2016. And I do fear and loathe it.

    Demosthenes (da021d)

  435. @452. There’s nothing to argue; morality is wholly subjective; end of story.

    Accept the decision by 63 million of your fellow citizen– and plan for 2024.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  436. @ 451:

    Your grandmother’s opinion does not prove the subjective nature of morality. No human society that I know of has ever held it to be moral to aid one’s enemies during wartime, whatever form the aid takes. Your grandmother was clearly calling on something like this principle. However, she was misapplying it, and so she was wrong.

    My own grandmother had a similar attitude toward the Japanese, though not in the economic sphere. But she never forgave them for what they did to her brother at Bataan. And she went out of her way to demonstrate that lack of forgiveness on at least one occasion. She was also wrong.

    Indeed, your attitude toward her stance powerfully suggests the objective nature of morality. It is quite plain that you think your grandmother carried her opinion too far, and that she was wrong. And it is also quite plain that you expect reasonable people to agree.

    Demosthenes (09f714)

  437. @452. “National morality???” See #448.

    OMG, short skirts, rock ‘n’ roll— next thing you know, a Catholic will want to run for president!

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  438. @ 453:

    I don’t recall saying that I didn’t accept anyone’s decision. I have never argued that Donald Trump was not legitimately elected. He’s just not fit to be president. And again, neither was Hillary.

    And again, as to your stance on the nature of morality: it’s Christ, Aristotle, Kant, Mill, and CS Lewis on one side of the argument, and you on the other. You can continue to assert all you like that you’re right. Make your face ss blue as you please. You are still quite wrong. And it saddens me that not only don’t you see that, you refuse to even engage with arguments to the contrary, made by people far wiser and far better than both of us.

    Demosthenes (09f714)

  439. @456. ‘national morality’… Pfft.

    See #449. Next thing you know, women will want the vote!

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  440. @ 455:

    Never mind. You’re not interested in discussing anything. You’re just interested in blindly asserting what you think is true, and mocking those who disagree with you. What a waste.

    Demosthenes (09f714)

  441. @458. Morality is wholly subjective. Accept it. And press on to 2024; but don’t try to preach that it isn’t. Immoral knocker-up and divorcee side, bet you qualified your ‘morality’ voted for Reagan, too. 😉

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  442. Glass houses… stones…

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  443. @460. Tax cuts and judgeships aside, some of the crew seem mutinous toward our Captain.

    Perhaps an extra ration of rum— or strawberry shortcake- would quiet the lads.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  444. 459. I still believe that Ronald W. Reagan was the last fundamentally decent man to occupy the Oval Office. You haven’t changed my mind yet. I could go over the many many ways in which I believe Donald J. Trump to be unfit, most of which have nothing to do with sexual immorality of any stripe, but I don’t think I’d change your mind either.

    Gryph (08c844)

  445. DCSCA hates/fears/? conservative ideology and works diligently to personally.discredit everyone who supports it.

    DRJ (15874d)

  446. But I am agreeing with and benefiting from your comments, Demosthenes, so they are not a waste.

    DRJ (15874d)

  447. Hes a performance artist like our departed penguin, jd saw through him as if he was made of glass.

    Narciso (292822)

  448. That’s disco from Pittsburgh is it, but we saw how Dana pico’s reasonable view was considered verboten, same with our philly contingent

    Narciso (292822)

  449. @459. No need to ‘change your mind’– wouldn’t weant to or try- waste of electrons- 63 million voters left you in the backwash; as a stone in Trump’s flowing stream.

    @463. LOL Hardly. Ya’ had a good run and still can ick up some loose change/judges

    Welcome to 1964, kiddo.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  450. ^462.
    Postscript. Then you’re good w/t morality of knocker-ups, premarital sexers and divorcees. Got it.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  451. 468. As I said, i can think of at least a score of reasons that Donald Trump is unfit for office that have nothing to do with his sexual predilections. It scares me to think how many Republican voters are okay with all that.

    Gryph (08c844)

  452. @469. And that’s… subjective. 😉

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  453. 470. GFY. 😉

    Gryph (08c844)

  454. C’mon, DRJ. Just consider the dude’s zany Zelig like history on this blog. He exists to irritate, and historically believes in little other than trying to be a gadfly. Good point about D.

    Simon Jester (306018)

  455. As general Kelly’s aide de camp it wasnt really surprising, as his subsequent papers show maybe kobach can get a shot now.

    Narciso (292822)

  456. Marinating in misery; look to 2024.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  457. @473. Across ‘Apprentice America’ it’ll look to Trumpsters, in this episode, like he fired the pretty blonde for incompetence.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  458. @383. Still, they pretty much got Capone w/it.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  459. Mr. Shearer, one wants his tax returns — or his negotiations with the IRS over them — to be private, one should not enter public service. A public servant should be accountable to the public, and his privacy rights will therefore be compromised in rough proportion to the seriousness of the office he holds.

    I have less than zero respect for Trump’s “privacy rights. I reject your guesswork and speculation, which does indeed rest on a presumption that the IRS can’t do its job properly unless the IRS is working in complete privacy. I point out that even after the government sues or indicts someone for tax offenses, thereby making their jeopardy public, negotiations can and do go on that result in the voluntary negotiated settlement, pretrial, over the overwhelming number of such cases. I suggest that your entire scenario originates in your own head, rather than real-world facts.

    I want to see the taxes. I am rooting for Chairman Dean on this occasion. I think our conversation is now exhausted, now that I’ve gotten your astute constitutional analysis and further commentary.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  460. *If one want his tax returns, that last (#478) ought to have begun.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  461. @ Kevin M (#447), who wrote:

    But anyway, you admit that 1) they really don’t intend to do a damn thing with the returns, except 2) make them public unlawfully, and then go on to cheer this.

    So much for the Rule of Law.

    Sir, there is one thing I will not tolerate in discussions here, and that is people who falsely put words in my mouth.

    I’ve written repeatedly that I believe the law quoted in the post above is clear and unequivocal; that it creates in Chairman Dean and his committee the express right to do exactly that which they have now set about to do; and that such is constitutional and lawful.

    You then hypothesize — indeed, fantasize, unless and until you provide citations to statutes and cases — that some unnamed other provision of law would somehow override this statute and make illegal that which it plainly, by its express terms, permits.

    Okay, I find that unpersuasive. But what I find intolerable, and respectfully ask you to withdraw, is your claim that I “admit” that any part of this process would be unlawful. I do not so admit. I deny it; I deny ever “admitting” it; and any claim to the contrary is a bald-faced falsehood, reckless at best (given that I’ve said the opposite on this very webpage).

    We share a career whose daily practice is part of the Rule of Law. Your falsehood about me therefore doubly offends me — for with your last sentence comes the implication that I don’t care about the Rule of Law.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  462. In fact, if one follows Mr Shearer’s idea to its logical end, the results of plea deals should never be made public.

    BTW, Beldar, I posted something for you in the Bach thread.

    Kishnevi (7289ba)

  463. Further to my #480: Not only do I not “admit” that which you wrote, Kevin M, I very much hope that Chairman Dean and his committee do in fact end up drafting and recommending to the full House new legislation that makes every POTUS’ and general election candidate for POTUS’ tax returns and return information continuously public. That is to say, I believe Trump’s bad behavior and mendacity — including his hiding behind a joke excuse that can only be credited by a moron — demonstrates exactly the need for such legislation. I don’t expect it to be passed through the Senate, nor signed into law or passed over an overridden veto, any time soon. But after the stink of Trump has left Washington, perhaps it will be.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  464. “Delusions fascinate me in part because I have so many of my own. Most often delusions are harmless. Sometimes they are not.
    At the moment my fellow Democrats are suffering from two that are harmful. The first is that Americans long for a president who will ask us to pay more for the pleasure of increasing the role of the federal government in our lives. That this is a delusion can be seen in the promises made by six successful Democratic candidates in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan: three governors and three senators. Not one of them supported the Green New Deal, a tax on wealth or “Medicare for all.”

    The second Democratic delusion is that Americans were robbed of the truth when Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller and Attorney General William Barr concluded that President Trump did not collude with Russia in 2016. All evidence indicates that the full report will not change the conclusion that Donald J. Trump did not collude with Vladimir Putin to secure his victory in 2016.

    Rather than investigating the president further, Congress needs to investigate how the Department of Justice got this one so wrong. If the president of the United States is vulnerable to prosecutorial abuse, then God help all the rest of us. Members of Congress cannot do this themselves. We do not trust them enough with such a vital mission.

    Congress should create a nonpartisan commission to find out what went wrong and to tell us what needs to be done to make certain it never happens again.

    A commission to investigate the FBI needs to focus on four questions:

    1. Has the law that gave the director of the FBI a 10-year term of office been sufficient to protect the appointee from political pressure to investigate potential crimes of candidates or elected officials? Neither Democratic nor Republican mobs should decide the outcome of our criminal justice system.

    2. How can we write clear rules that govern the behavior of the candidate or officeholder? Tweets can and do stoke the fire of the mob. That is what they are intended to do. When the chief law enforcement officer encourages his audience to chant “lock her up,” this signals the FBI to follow the mob. When he sends out tweets that encourage law enforcement to investigate political opponents, this is also mob rule. Rules of acceptable behavior do not apply just to the president but to Congress as well. In the Twitter age, all of us need to understand when our candidate has crossed the line.

    3. When is it appropriate for the FBI to begin an investigation? Once started, these things are hard to stop. A single campaign official suggesting the possibility of collusion with a foreign power or a document written as opposition research or a demand from a member of Congress are very thin reeds upon which to challenge the legitimacy of an elected official.

    4. Are federal pardons justified? The commission needs the authority to examine whether some Americans were convicted and sentenced because they did not tell the truth about a collusion that never happened. The commission should be given the authority to recommend a pardon for anyone it believes was sentenced unjustly.”

    https://www.omaha.com/opinion/midlands_voices/bob-kerrey-how-did-department-of-justice-get-the-trump/article_7b68c700-f356-5cb8-8baf-bbbdc5375bf4.html

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  465. 480

    I’ve written repeatedly that I believe the law quoted in the post above is clear and unequivocal; that it creates in Chairman Dean and his committee the express right to do exactly that which they have now set about to do; and that such is constitutional and lawful. …

    A law that said the chairman can at any time request the tax returns of his political opponents and release them to the public out of pure spite would also be clear and unequivocal but I doubt it would be constitutional. IANAL but it is my understanding that it is a basic principle when deciding what laws mean to construe them in such a way as to make them constitutional. Which would mean in this case there is an implicit clause in the law that the chairman shall not use it to harass his political opponents out of pure spite.

    James B. Shearer (92a19f)

  466. I’m starting to suspect the whirlwind around the tax returns will end up like russiagate. At this point there’s no reason to think there’s anything we don’t already know. Sure, maybe some dollar figures but I think everyone expecting this to be what brings him down is putting a lot of faith Take Down Plan v2.

    The narrative pattern by itself is a red flag.

    We’ll also get to see if house democrats can walk and chew gum at the same time or if Take Down Plan v3 has to wait until v2 has played out.

    frosty48 (6226c1)

  467. Bob Kerrey says it for me:

    “If the president of the United States is vulnerable to prosecutorial abuse, then God help all the rest of us.”

    https://www.omaha.com/opinion/midlands_voices/bob-kerrey-how-did-department-of-justice-get-the-trump/article_7b68c700-f356-5cb8-8baf-bbbdc5375bf4.html

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  468. @484 In this case Neal’s intent doesn’t change the constitutionality of the law. But I also think Neal is engaging in an arbitrary use of his power, since I think his stated goal is a lie and his real goal is to either 1) allow the returns to be leaked, 2) make unverifiable claims without leaking, or 3) possibly do some combination of both by partially leaking and using that to bolster unverifiable claims. And the leaking is illegal since I think if he can see them it’s only in executive session. So, I don’t think Neal is acting consistent with the Rule of Law. It also doesn’t help that his analysis of the way the IRS audits presidents doesn’t include any other presidents.

    #2 and #3 are risky since Trump can release the information so #1 is the most likely but Brennan and Shiff have both done some of #2 and #3 and, so far, have gotten away with it.

    frosty48 (6226c1)

  469. Kevin M wrote (#447):

    So much for the Rule of Law.

    If we’re going to talk “Rule of Law,” I invite every single reader here — lawyers and non-lawyers alike, and indeed especially non-lawyers — to click this link to 26 U.S.C. § 6103, which is the same one in our host’s original post in which he quotes the statute upon which Chairman Dean’s request relies.

    Section 6103 is entitled “Confidentiality and disclosure of returns and return information,” and it comprehensively establishes and regulates the nature and extent of taxpayers’ privacy rights.

    Perhaps unsurprisingly given the importance and sensitivity of the topic, when I cut and pasted the text of section 6103 into Microsoft Word, the resulting word count is 20,263. I recommend that readers of this post not undertake to read any more of them than those which our host has already quoted above in the original post. However:

    Scroll to the bottom. You will see at the bottom a single but very lengthy paragraph of short references separated by semicolons, each of which reference reads much like this first one, including its hyperlink:

    Aug. 16, 1954, ch. 736, 68A Stat. 753; ….

    Collectively, those references show the provenance and history of this particular section in Title 26 of the United States Code. Each such reference — for this statute, there are many, many dozens of them — reflects a new piece of legislation, in sequential order, by which repeated Congresses (with either the concurrence, or overriding the veto, of the POTUS) have amended section 6103.

    The statutory language quoted by our host in the original post, then, didn’t just appear out of nowhere by magic, and the process by which it came into being literally embodies the Rule of Law.

    I’m not sure whether section 6103(f)(1) in particular was in the original version of this statute passed in 1954, or whether it was added by later amendment; nor have I researched whether there’s any legislative history about this particular section.

    But it’s clear beyond peradventure, clear beyond reasonable argument, that section 6103(f)(1) was duly enacted and enrolled into our statutory law as part of the Rule of Law. It is not some magic sleight of hand slipped into Obamacare. It is not being stretched, twisted, or distorted in any way in its operation here; Chairman Dean’s letter cites, and scrupulously complies with, the exact statutory language.

    Now maybe Kevin M doesn’t like this law. Donald Trump surely doesn’t.

    But it is the law. And it’s spectacularly obvious here who’s abusing the Rule of Law, who’s trying to evade and avoid it, who’s trying to make a special rule just for Donald J. Trump.

    That would be Trump himself and those who are systematically mischaracterizing Chairman Dean’s letter as if it were contrary to the Rule of Law.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  470. Mr. Shearer wrote, in part (#484):

    [T]here is an implicit clause in the law that the chairman shall not use it to harass his political opponents out of pure spite.

    Let’s call that the Santa Clause. (Spoiler alert: It doesn’t exist.)

    Beldar (fa637a)

  471. Beldar–

    I have no wish to misunderstand you, or to mischaracterize your opinion, but where in the law does it say they may release an individual’s returns to the media? Maybe I’m just not parsing it correctly, but

    …except that any return or return information which can be associated with, or otherwise identify, directly or indirectly, a particular taxpayer shall be furnished to such committee only when sitting in closed executive session unless such taxpayer otherwise consents in writing to such disclosure.

    seems to suggest they aren’t supposed to.

    Maybe that’s just a little legal joke, and all they have to do is vote “Mother may I” and the seeming protection becomes vapor. If so, it’s a rather sad commentary on our whole system. That they would do so because they think Trump is unethical seems a bit conflicted at best.

    My objection is NOT that they request the returns. Clearly they can and the IRS has no choice in the matter. My objection is that they will NOT honor the part of the same law that seems pretends to require the material to be kept securely.

    Now, obviously we disagree on whether Presidential candidates should have to MAKE financial disclosures, and you have several times suggested that Trump’s failure to do so leaves him in the position of having it done for him (and that this is a good thing). If I misread you here, I’m sorry, but you have shared that feeling more than once.

    You then ask why I would defend such a terrible person. My response is that the terrible person is the one you need to defend, or the camel’s nose will soon be under everyone’s tent.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  472. 489

    Let’s call that the Santa Clause. (Spoiler alert: It doesn’t exist.)

    So you believe the chairman could declare his intent to use the law to harass his political opponents out of pure spite and the courts would uphold this as proper and constitutional?

    James B. Shearer (92a19f)

  473. Corrupt motive (bribe money) on the part of a member of Congress (a United States Senator) in the performance of legal activity (voting on postage rate legislation) explicitly protected by the Speech and Debate Clause of the Constitution was found to make that activity indictable and outside the protection of the Speech and Debate Clause in U.S. v. Brewster.

    And do I need to point out how many times we have recently discussed here how corrupt motive (or was it intent?) on the part of Trump would turn an otherwise perfectly legal personnel decision into the crime of obstruction of justice?

    nk (dbc370)

  474. Now, obviously we disagree on whether Presidential candidates should have to MAKE financial disclosures, and you have several times suggested that Trump’s failure to do so leaves him in the position of having it done for him (and that this is a good thing).

    Please, let us get one thing Perfectly Clear. Trump HAS BEEN MAKING the financial disclosures and it is one of his defenses to not revealing his tax returns that those disclosures contain the same information that one would legitimately glean from the returns.

    nk (dbc370)

  475. And, just to be sure, I have read what that section says about disclosure. There are a number of cases where disclosure is allowed (e.g. child support or student loan collection) but there is only ONE place 6103(g) that anyone is given plenary power to request any return and release it on their signature — seemingly the President or (maybe) an agency head. The sections on Congress 6103(f) seem to repeat, in every section, the part I quoted in 490.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  476. I also have submitted information, of my own will, to the government in order to obtain certain privileges. I had HOPED they wouldn’t disclose it, but they did. To China.

    It is this same understanding of the rules they have regarding confidentiality and the penalties they can apply that gets me upset when THEY play fast and loose with other people’s stuff. And then they look the other way when one of the Elite does things I’d go to prison for. But that’s a different subject.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  477. The Cornell Law Library’s hyperlinks to the U.S. Statutes at Large don’t work. But here’s a Government Printing Office link to that first reference which I quoted in my comment #488 above, a little bit of legislation more commonly known as The Internal Revenue Code of 1954, as originally passed. Warning: It’s an enormous .pdf file, 982 pages in length. If, per that citation, we go to page 753 (which is actually the 751st page of the .pdf file), we find that yes, a version of section 6103 was included, then entitled “Publicity of Returns and Lists of Taxpayers.”

    In subsection (d) we find the original version of what’s now subsection (f), quoted by our host in the original post. Entitled “Inspection by Committees of Congress,” subsection (d)(1) provides in pertinent part:

    (A)The Secretary and any officer or employee of the Treasury Department, upon request from the Committee on Ways and “Means of the House of Representatives, the Committee on Finance of the Senate, or a select committee of the Senate or House specially authorized to investigate returns by a resolution of the Senate or House, or a joint committee so authorized by concurrent resolution, shall furnish such committee sitting in executive session with any data of any character contained in or shown by any return.

    (B) Any such committee shall have the right, acting directly as a committee, or by or through such examiners or agents as it may designate or appoint, to inspect any or all of the returns at such times and in such manner as it may determine.

    (C ) Any relevant or useful information thus obtained may be submitted by the committee obtaining it to the Senate or the House, or to both the Senate and the House, as the case may be.

    In 1954, when this law was enacted, Dwight Eisenhower was POTUS, and in the 83rd Congress, the GOP controlled both the House and Senate.

    So obviously the exactly language has been revised and renumbered at least once since 1954. However:

    If the 83rd Congress, or any Congress thereafter, had so chosen, it could have created further privacy rights for the taxpayer, and further restrictions upon use by the House or Senate Committees, after the information has been delivered by the Secretary of the Treasury.

    To the best of my knowledge — and I again disclaim having read all 30k+ words of the present section 6103, much less all the legislative history — no such Congress have ever written any such law. What the committees chose to do with this information, once delivered in executive session, is up to them.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  478. @ Kevin M: Did I miss the part where you withdrew the falsehood you told about me?

    That’s an absolute precondition to further conversation. I will not converse with someone who makes things up and then claims I “admitted” them.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  479. Section 6103(d) both directs and restricts the Secretary of the Treasury: The Secretary must turn over returns and return information upon request; but if an individual taxpayer is identifiable, the Secretary may only turn the information over to such committee “when sitting in closed executive session unless such taxpayer otherwise consents.”

    That neither says, nor implies, a single damn thing about what Congress or its committees may or shall do once they have it.

    You’re making sh!t up and pretending it’s law. And you dare accuse me of ignoring the Rule of Law. Sir, your offensiveness grows in leaps and bounds.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  480. The second Democratic delusion is that Americans were robbed of the truth when Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller and Attorney General William Barr concluded that President Trump did not collude with Russia in 2016.

    I’m not a Democrat, but I’ve heard no Democrat say he/she was “robbed of the truth” by Mueller’s and Barr’s conclusions on collusion. Sounds like a strawman to me.

    Paul Montagu (7968e9)

  481. Subsection (p) of section 6103 is entitled “Procedure and recordkeeping.” Sub-subsection (4) of subsection (p) of section 6103 is entitled “Safeguards.” It does impose continuing obligations to ensure the privacy of identifiable returns and return information upon “federal agencies” described in various subsections; upon the Government Accountability Office and Congressional Budget Office; upon state officers; and upon the various other persons and entities granted a conditional entitlement to request tax returns and return information. It provides that the Secretary of the Treasury may condition his compliance with their requests by requiring them to show good record-keeping practices, logs, access restrictions, etc. — all very modern 21st Century-style privacy protections.

    Guess what subjection there’s not a cross-reference to in this “Safeguards” provision, though? Yes, that’s right: [ding-ding-ding] Congress itself!

    I’ve now invested more than an hour of my life that I will never get back, tracking through provisions of the Tax Code in order to demonstrate that Kevin M’s fantasies are unfounded, and that his fantasy version of the law is contrary to the actual version of the law. I so hate the Tax Code that I won’t do this for clients at any price. I think I’m done for the night on this topic, and I think I’m done with people who falsely claim that I’ve “admitted” things which I’ve expressly denied.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  482. Well, apparently I have some reading comprehension difficulty, because when some one says:

    I further agree that the Dems on the House Ways & Means Committee, having so received Trump’s returns and return information in closed executive session, can and indeed will promptly vote to make it all public, and they’ll send out an email blast with .pdf copies of everything to every news organization in sight and post it for review and download on the Committee’s own website — whereupon the public scrutiny of Trump’s taxes that ought to have been conducted during the 2016 campaign will finally begin.

    it seems to me that they are 1) agreeing that the committee will breach the law’s promised seal, and 2) think it just. When they go on to say:

    I think that is a spectacularly good prospect and a fine precedent, and that Trump will be getting exactly, precisely what he deserves now, having gotten away with stonewalling for 2+ years without political consequence.

    I’m even more sure they the see the justice.

    Now, the issue we are having is apparently over the word “unlawfully”, so I can only infer that you take the clause about “closed executive session” that is repeated in every instance in 6103(f) to have no force, or to be easily evaded by walking out with the documents afterwards.

    I will have to defer to you there. In the circles I travel in, ignoring something like that is likely to put me in prison. I apologize if I projected my understanding on your thinking.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  483. And clearly you assert here is no promised seal. Plain English suggests there is. If I am told a document can only be read in a secure facility by someone with the proper clearance(s), then I take it home and post it on the internet, I am going to spend the next decade in a supermax. Maybe it’s different for Congressmen.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  484. Damn and double-damn, sir! The law does not promise a continuing seal. The law does not purport to bind Congress. It binds the Secretary of the Treasury. It binds other parts of the federal government. It conspicuously leaves Congress out. Nothing in the statute, not a single word you’ve quoted, binds Congress.

    Your apology is for the wrong thing — I have asked you to withdraw your previous claim that I “admitted” that which I in fact deny — and you compound your offense by again making ridiculous arguments that you attribute to me, while ignoring the statutory language that I cite to you!

    You argue in bad faith, and there’s no worse insult I can aim at another lawyer.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  485. BTW 6103(g) doesn’t even suggest that it will be kept under seal. Just needs Trump’s request and then his signature and anyone’s tax return can got to the NYT.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  486. The law does not purport to bind Congress.

    That would be correct if members of the Ways and Means Committees and their staffs are not officers or employees of the United States under Section (a)(1).

    nk (dbc370)

  487. You argue in bad faith, and there’s no worse insult I can aim at another lawyer.

    1) I have never claimed to be a lawyer, I’m a (now retired) engineer who designed logic for several decades. Obviously a disqualification for the law.

    2) I said “But anyway, you admit that 1) they really don’t intend to do a damn thing with the returns, except 2) make them public unlawfully, and then go on to cheer this.” You disliked this in the extreme.

    I;m going to assume you have no problem with the part about them making the returns public, and that you think they ought to be public. If that’s is wrong please tell me in one-syllable words as I’m feeling particularly stupid right now.

    But my saying that you would want something unlawful to happen is a problem. OK. I believe that you think it would be lawful, and if you did not think that you would not be in favor.

    Still, though, the restriction is there, and if it was written in a security reg, I’d be very unlikely to violate it.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  488. As for hating tax law, I have spent the last 4 days going through 22 years of records to reconcile a taxable 7-figure house sale and trying to deal with what’s an improvement and what’s upkeep. Right now I hate taxes, and anything about taxes, more than most people.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  489. Ok, members of Congress are definitely not officers or employees of the United States. Sorry for the “Duh!” moment.

    nk (dbc370)

  490. But the President is, and even though he can get anybody’s tax return, he cannot disclose it to NYT or even to The National Inquirer, the way I’m seeing it. Man, Cruz was right. This tax code really is complicated.

    nk (dbc370)

  491. To restate and summarize from several of my prior comments:

    With respect to returns and return information with identifying information as to a particular taxpayer, the point of requring the Secretary of the Treasury to deliver that information only to the Committee in executive session is to ensure that the taxpayer’s privacy rights aren’t thereby waived — as part of an of-public-record submission to a congressional committee — by the Secretary.

    Accidental waivers thus having been avoided, and the Committees having wisely preserved for themselves in the future the freedom to consider privacy rights of the involved taxpayers on an individual, case-by-case basis, Congress can make such further decisions about how to handle that information as it chooses.

    Now, Congress certainly could have chosen to categorically forbid itself from making further disclosure of identifiable taxpayer information after the Secretary’s initial disclosure to the Committees in executive session, in the same manner that Congress chose to bind other federal and state agencies and personnel.

    But Congress chose instead to exempt itself. Yes, the Congress wrote the Tax Code to give itself, then and for the future, the power to make whatever use of taxpayers’ information that any future Congress chooses to make.

    If you ever thought otherwise, if you thought you had some privacy right under the Fourth or Fifth Amendment or under some other section of the Tax Code which would protect you against Congress doing that, then you were simply wrong. Probably you hadn’t actually ever looked at the Tax Code to see what Congress, in particular, can do with your private tax information before this week, huh?

    Kevin M instead interprets this non-waiver provision — that which restricts the Secretary (not Congress) from delivering other than when the Committees are in “executive session” — to be a substantive restriction binding upon Congress after the delivery has been completed. He can’t cite a single word in the statute which comprises any such continuing substantive restriction upon Congress. Nor has he any explanation why in the place where we’d expect to find any such continuing substantive restriction — because it’s the place that contains them for other federal and state agencies and their employees — Congress is indeed omitted.

    His arguments, in short, like Mr. Shearers, are based on what he thinks the law ought to be, not what the law is. I find that unpersuasive and indeed misleading to others. And sputtering hyperbole about what might get one thrown in Supermax is no substitute for citing and discussing the actual law.

    ***

    Finally: Kevin M, in thinking you a lawyer, I must have confused you with another commenter. If you’re not a lawyer, I ought not hold you to that standard. For that I apologize.

    However, I expect even non-lawyers to refrain from claiming that I’ve “admitted” something which, instead, I’ve repeated denied. You’ve not withdrawn that assertion, but I choose to treat your apology in #501 as being the equivalent, and thank you for it.

    @ nk (#505 & #508): In one of those dozens of revisions, when listing the entities that had to promise the SecTreas continued confidentiality, Congress specifically added the Congressional Budget Office by name — but again, not Congress itself. The omission isn’t accidental.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  492. Patent law firms now hire almost exclusively from the growing subset of law graduates who were previously engineers. But it’s a niche. I’ve worked with many engineers (occasionally as clients, often as witnesses) who are frustrated by the law, certainly much more often than the converse. Thank you too, Kevin M, for your #506, which I hadn’t yet read when I wrote my #510.

    If you ever observe me seeming to be advocating for action despite an admitted belief on my part that such action would be unlawful, then you’re probably observing an android duplicate left behind by the aliens who’ve kidnapped the “real” Beldar.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  493. Pretend Republican Kristen Nielson finally resigned. Trump should have fired her, I mean never should have hired her. She was plant by Bush State Hacks.

    mg (8cbc69)

  494. I see her replacement Mr. McAleenan is well thought of by congress. This meaning another disastrous pick by Trump.

    mg (8cbc69)

  495. Does it really matter who or whom if reverse-woke Pauly Shore is the true immigration czar?

    urbanleftbehind (4157c7)

  496. 510

    His arguments, in short, like Mr. Shearers, are based on what he thinks the law ought to be, not what the law is …

    The law is what the Supreme Court says it is and they haven’t weighed in yet. As the story of the three umpires goes:

    First Umpire: There’s balls and strikes and I call them as they are.
    Second Umpire: There’s balls and strikes and I call them as I see them.
    Third Umpire: They aren’t anything until I call them.

    James B. Shearer (92a19f)

  497. 516

    His arguments, in short, like Mr. Shearers, are based on what he thinks the law ought to be, not what the law is. …

    Okay let’s talk about what the law should be. I don’t think the law should allow a house chairman to request the tax returns of political opponents and release them out of pure spite. Do you disagree?

    James B. Shearer (92a19f)

  498. I think what passes for intelligence product, has been eeveaked to be woefully inadequate, they missed the invasion of the crimea under Brennan and clapper they missed IslAmic state organizing general flynn didn’t that’s why he was punished

    narciso (d1f714)

  499. @512. She was a ‘Kelly Girl.’

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  500. 34. 35.

    What year was 26 U.S.C. § 6103 passed into law? (or the language in Sections (f) and (g)

    …..

    Sammy Finkelman (385c0e) — 4/5/2019 @ 7:54 am

    Section (f) (the Ways and Means Committee one) was enacted around the time of Teapot Dome in the 1920s, from what I’ve read.

    nk (dbc370) — 4/5/2019 @ 7:57 am

    The main editorial in today’s Wall street Journal said 1924, without naming the section.

    In the Thursday Wall Street Journal, the next to last paragraph of a story continued from Page One goes:

    If the administration hands over the records, it may be hard for the public to tell quickly what is in the documents, because taxpayer privacy laws still apply. Mr. Neal can designate staff members and others to review the returns. The full Ways and Means Committee could later voe to release the returns or a report about them.

    Of course people could leak, and they could leak lies or half truths, and if they leaked lies anonymously, they are not very likely to be disciplined by others in Congress.

    Sammy Finkelman (e70ce9)

  501. @488 Beldar, stepping away from this specific issue and to a question about the Rule of Law more generally; is it enough that the law was duly enacted? Does consistently enforced play any factor? And I’m not trying to back into this original discussion. I’m genuinely trying to understand your view on this without projecting. An example is prosecutorial discretion. If these choices are made in good faith to use scarce resources as opposed to something like the Smollett case where maybe that wasn’t the case. I would argue the first is consistent with the Rule of Law but it’s possible there is a fact pattern that isn’t.

    I ask because my view is that the Rule of Law is about arbitrary abuse of power. I’m not willing to say that just because someone in authority is acting under a duly enacted law their actions are always consistent with the Rule of Law. It’s possible to duly enact a law that explicitly allows for arbitrary abuse and it’s possible to arbitrarily apply an otherwise benign law for personal gain.

    And again, I’m not trying to find another way to argue on the Trump or Smollett issue and I’m not saying any of my examples apply to those cases. Obviously, I’ve said, or implied, they do on previous posts but now it seems like you and I have a different view of what Rule of Law means and I would much rather talk about that than any of this stuff with Trump.

    frosty48 (6226c1)

  502. If his returns contain evidence of criminal activity, WTH has the audit bureau of the IRS been doing these many decades that they’ve poured over those same returns with a flea-comb?
    Are the auditors criminals too?

    askeptic (728656)

  503. Kristen Nielson resignation: Trump is reportedly following the advice of Stephen Miller (while also trytying to satisfy other peole, because he’s probably uncomfortable wth the issue)

    I don’t understand why anyone thinks, or should think, it is possible to enforce the current law. Trump actually wants to change the law, but you can change it two ways to make it more enforceable: Make it more strict and make it less strict.

    Changing the law revisits the question as to what the law should be in the first place, and Trump’s totally begging the question as to what is good; and to extent that he’s justifying the goals of current law, he’s relying on lies and dogma. Nothing but that, really. Not that Democrats would say that – they prefer to stay away from direct discussions and attack what he;s doing peripherally.

    Kristen Nielson was there at the White House to protest the withdrawal of the nomination of his proposed new head of ICE – the upshot was that her own resignation was requested. Basically, for failing to do the impossible.

    Sammy Finkelman (e70ce9)

  504. 522. askeptic (728656) — 4/8/2019 @ 7:02 am

    If his returns contain evidence of criminal activity, WTH has the audit bureau of the IRS been doing these many decades that they’ve poured over those same returns with a flea-comb?

    Are the auditors criminals too?

    I think – one idea – of what might have happened, if that Trump and his tax lawyers and accountants agreed to make changes in his tax returns that brought a big recovery to the government in exchange for the auditor finishing her audit, and now he’s insisting that the IRS is bound by what its earlier auditor agreed to let go.

    And the IRS doesn’t or didn’t pursue it because they don’t want to set up a test case in tax court.
    So it’s a standoff.

    Another idea is that actually the audits for many years are completed, but they could potentially be opened up again by an audit of later years.

    Sammy Finkelman (e70ce9)

  505. But anyway, you admit that 1) they really don’t intend to do a damn thing with the returns, except 2) make them public unlawfully, and then go on to cheer this.

    So much for the Rule of Law.

    Quote the admission or take this back.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  506. 521 frosty48 (6226c1) — 4/8/2019 @ 6:58 am

    If these choices are made in good faith to use scarce resources as opposed to something like the Smollett case where maybe that wasn’t the case.

    What’s bad about the Smolett case is not that he’s not going to jail – it’s that Smolett is now in the position of claiming that saying it was a hoax on his part is false snd efamatory (Defamatory it is, but false not very likely.)

    Also, instead of payng the city of Chicago $130,000 – which he has – he paid $10,000 – $1,000 = $9,000, and his “community service” was a farce.

    Sammy Finkelman (e70ce9)

  507. The rule of lAW seems to be a suggestion when it comes to Anthony wiener or the podestas or Greg Craig prove me they dong get off with a proverbial slap of the wrist. Same for the Biden the daleys or the Clintons

    narciso (d1f714)

  508. Have all Trump’s returns been audited? All we have for that is his word. I’m not convinced he is being audited personally, except the routine audit done when he became President. My guess is he doesn’t want the personal returns released because they show minimal net income for someone who claims to be wealthy. My further guess is that his wealth is in his business entities, in assets like Trump Tower and other NY properties, the golf resorts he owns, and the DC hotel.

    High-income earners are more likely to be audited but only 1% of taxpayers making net income of $200k to $500k are audited. Most of Trump’s money and deductions run through his 500 business entities, and each one may be small enough to escape audit, plus he can use them to pay expenses so he doesn’t have to take the profits as personal income. The mere fact there are 500 business entities suggests to me that this may be his tax avoidance method as well as his tax audit avoidance method.

    DRJ (15874d)

  509. But if he and all his entities are being audited every year, then that suggests he has had problems raised in prior tax audits that led to additional taxes. That will trigger ongoing audits.

    DRJ (15874d)

  510. They’re now talking about Bernie Sanders not realeasing his tax returns.

    http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/04/sanders-still-dragging-his-feet-on-releasing-his-tax-returns.html

    Bernie Sanders has effectively been running for president steadily since, at least, 2015. And over all that time — which now spans two campaigns for president — we’ve seen exactly one year of his tax returns. In the 2016 campaign, Sanders released the two summary pages of his 2014 returns only. [meaning the IRS 1040 but not any other schedules or forms] He said he would release a more robust tax history if he became the Democratic nominee, which, well, didn’t happen.

    and you know weho’s being compared favrably to Bernie Sanders? Hillary Clinton. She released years of tax returns. Of course, in 1992, when they let the New York Times review tax returns they didn’t go back to 1979 – the Clintons made taht available in order to distract the people who were after them, because the statute of limiations had long since passed. And then there wasw the provate emailing, contary to standard government policy, which never would have been discovered but for the Benghazi investigation. Or it would have been discovered years and years later.

    Sammy Finkelman (e70ce9)

  511. Some New York State legislators have proposed changes to New York State law that would enable them to get Trump’s New York State tax returns:

    https://money.cnn.com/2017/05/05/news/economy/new-york-trump-tax-returns

    The legislation — dubbed the Tax Returns Uniformly Made Public Act (or TRUMP Act) — would require the state to post online the state tax returns of anyone elected to federal or state office in a statewide election, including the president and vice president.

    Sammy Finkelman (e70ce9)

  512. The IRS doesn’t bring many criminal charges for tax evasion, especially when the taxpayer has a big accounting firm. The goal is to get those taxpayers to pay more tax, not to incarcerate them.

    DRJ (15874d)

  513. 528. DRJ (15874d) — 4/8/2019 @ 7:23 am

    The mere fact there are 500 business entities suggests to me that this may be his tax avoidance method as well as his tax audit avoidance method.

    I think he has abigger reason for having so many separate businesses.

    Each one can go bankrupt separately.

    Sammy Finkelman (e70ce9)

  514. The foundation was where she did her business, and there were 1,000 tax related omissions

    Narciso (96850e)

  515. “I hate President George W. Bush. There, I said it.”

    —- Jonathan Chait In 2003

    Remember that the next time you see Chait promoted.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  516. True, Sammy. Win-Win, right?

    DRJ (15874d)

  517. Especially if your businesses tend to go under as often as they succeed.

    DRJ (15874d)

  518. In fairness, Trump doesn’t have many bankrupt entities anymore now that he is able to license his name. There is little risk to that method, and if the underlying venture fails then all he has to do is liquidate his company and move on. He bears no costs on those deals, but his income share is limited and probably capped.

    DRJ (15874d)

  519. Our esteemed host wrote:

    Let Trump and his fans howl. I don’t care. I think he’s a criminal and I think his tax returns are one of the keys to the box.

    This sounds very much like you are approving a fishing expedition.

    Mr Trump is a billionaire, and the Infernal Revenue Service scrutinizes, and frequently audits, the returns of billionaires. Do you believe that the IRS under Barack Hussein Obama didn’t look very carefully at Mr Trump’s tax returns once he declared himself to be a candidate?

    Billionaires don’t just file with TurboTax, but have accountants, plural, doing their returns; do you believe that professional accountants, some of who are CPAs, are going to file anything that is criminal? That will cost them their licences, and might get them thrown in jail as well.

    You “think he’s a criminal,” yet a wide-ranging, two-year investigation did not produce sufficient evidence of that for Robert Mueller and his team to recommend charges against President Trump or his family. Yes, he’s an [insert slang term for the rectum here], but being an [insert slang term for the rectum here] is not a criminal offense. As Ernest King once said, upon being informed that he was being appointed Chief of Naval Operations after the attack on Pearl Harbor, “When they get in trouble they send for the sons-of-bitches.” That’s what he voters wanted when Mr Trump won the Republican nomination, and the general election.

    And, given your long support for Ted Cruz for President in 2016, it would seem that you have no objection to an [insert slang term for the rectum here] as President. Mr Cruz has been decidedly unpopular among his Republican colleagues, something which indicates that he might not be the nicest guy to be around. It’s simply that he’s a different kind of [insert slang term for the rectum here] than President Trump.

    The Dana who isn't an attorney (f02278)

  520. @526 and @527 With respect, there’s not much value in these arguments if the Rule of Law is just a process question.

    frosty48 (8e4293)

  521. Where this all began:

    https://youtu.be/mVCmLmlR-Y0

    Narciso (96850e)

  522. Trump has been POTUS for 807 days… get ready for another week of ATTEMPTED COUP 12.04:

    “Right after the 2016 election, Green Party candidate Jill Stein—cheered on by Hillary Clinton dead-enders—sued in three states to recount votes and thereby overturn Donald Trump’s victory in the Electoral College. Before the quixotic effort imploded, Stein was praised as an iconic progressive social justice warrior who might stop the hated Trump from even entering the White House.

    When that did not work, B-list Hollywood celebrities mobilized, with television and radio commercials, to shame electors in Trump-won states into not voting for the president-elect during the official Electoral College balloting in December 2016. Their idea was that select morally superior electors should reject their constitutional directives and throw the election into the House of Representatives where even more morally superior NeverTrump Republicans might join with even much more morally superior Democrats to find the perfect morally superior NeverTrump alternative.

    When that did not work, more than 60 Democratic House members voted to bring up Trump’s impeachment for vote. Trump had only been in office a few weeks. Then San Francisco billionaire Tom Steyer toured the country and lavished millions on advertisements demanding Trump’s removal by impeachment—and was sorely disappointed when he discovered that billion-dollar-fueled virtue-signaling proved utterly bankrupt virtue-signaling.

    When that did not work, celebrities and politicians hit social media and the airwaves to so demonize Trump that culturally it would become taboo even to voice prior support for the elected president. Their chief tool was a strange new sort of presidential assassination chic, as Madonna, David Crosby, Robert de Niro, Johnny Depp, Snoop Dogg, Peter Fonda, Kathy Griffin, and a host of others linguistically vied with one another in finding the most appropriately violent end of Trump—blowing him up, burning him up, beating him up, shooting him up, caging him up, or decapitating him. Apparently, the aim—aside from careerist chest-thumping among the entertainment elite—was to lower the bar of Trump disparagement and insidiously delegitimize his presidency.

    When that did not work, during the president’s first year in office, the Democrats and the media at various times sought to invoke the 25th Amendment, claiming Trump was so mentally or physically impaired that he was not able to carry out the duties of president. At one point, congressional Democrats called Yale University psychiatrist Dr. Bandy X. Lee to testify that Trump was unfit to continue. In fact, to prove her credentials, Lee edited The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump that offered arguments from 27 psychiatrists and other mental health experts. In May 2017, acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein met secretly in efforts to poll Trump cabinet members to discover whether they could find a majority to remove Trump from office—again on grounds that he was mentally unbalanced. According to McCabe, Rosenstein offered to wear a wire, in some sort of bizarre comic coup attempt to catch Trump off-guard in a confidential conversation…”

    https://amgreatness.com/2019/04/07/all-the-progressive-plotters/

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  523. 351. steveg (e7a56b) — 4/7/2019 @ 12:00 am

    Trumps All County scheme would be simple and legal if you did it like this: Buy at the cheapest wholesale price in the land. Mark it up to nearly exact retail price plus cost, insurance, freight and whatever else your tax attorney says is legal.

    That’s almost certainly exactly what Fred Trump strove to do. Now before that he ahd always tried to buy at the lowest price and succeeded. Now he was paying the highest reasonable price.

    Now the cover story for the existence of All County was that it would be more efficient.

    Sell it from one company held by you to another controlled by your relatives and use it on your projects. Have your tax attorney structure the corporation into a trust or LLC or whatever he/she says to handle free cash flow in a way that limits taxes and gives out shares that are held as capital gain.

    The New York Times didn’t say whether they did that or not, but the real goal was simply to get a lot of money into the hands of his children while he was still alive without paying gift tax.

    The purpose of this was not federal income tax evasion – more or less identical corporate income tax was probably paid in any case on the incoem transferred from one entity to another – but avoiding gift tax.

    Fred Trump strove to pass along wealth to his children without running into either gift or inheritance taxes. So he created this intermediary corporation with different ownership and let them take a percentage..

    One by-product of this was that his tenants got hit with higher rents because under New York State rent stablization laws landlords are allowed to raise the rent for capital improvements, and the more it cost the more he could raise the rent.

    Sammy Finkelman (e70ce9)

  524. 544.

    Right after the 2016 election, Green Party candidate Jill Stein—cheered on by Hillary Clinton dead-enders—

    And Vladimir Putin. Trump was openly considering naming Mitt Romney as Secretary of State at that time and Romney had said that Russia was the top geopolitical threat to the United States.

    Jill Stein was very close to Moscow. Jill Stein was at the same December 10, 2015 Moscow banquet on the occasion of RT’s 10th anniversary that Michael Flynn was at. Former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson, who was the Justice Party presidential candidate in 2012, was also there:

    https://www.sltrib.com/news/politics/2017/12/21/that-infamous-moscow-dinner-where-michael-flynn-and-jill-stein-sat-with-putin-utahs-rocky-anderson-was-there-too/

    Stein and former national security adviser Michael Flynn were seated at the head table with Russian President Vladimir Putin….

    …In the center is Vladimir Putin, the Russian president; at his right elbow, retired U.S. Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, at the time hardly a household name. A few seats over, among high-ranking Russian officials and other VIPs, is Jill Stein, the Harvard doctor and 2016 (and quadrennial) Green Party presidential candidate…

    ..In this file photo taken on Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015, Russian President Vladimir Putin, center right, with retired U.S. Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, center left, and Serbian filmmaker Emir Kusturica, obscured second right, attend an exhibition marking the 10th anniversary of RT (Russia Today) 24-hour English-language TV news channel in Moscow, Russia.

    Before the election Putin had tried to use Jill Stein to help Trump.

    https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/national-security/russians-launched-pro-jill-stein-social-media-blitz-help-trump-n951166

    But now, with Trump considering Mitt Romney as Secretary of State, Putin decided that maybe he made a mistake. Putin had maybe given Trump Michigan and Wisconsin.

    https://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/308353-trump-won-by-smaller-margin-than-stein-votes-in-all-three

    What Putin gives, Putin thought he could take away, but it wasn’t so.

    Sammy Finkelman (e70ce9)

  525. It’s only all three states combined. Stein’s total in Pennsylvania alone was less than Trump’s victory margin there, and they wouldn’t all have voted for Hillary anyway. Many would not have voted.

    Sammy Finkelman (e70ce9)

  526. Meanwhile the Iranian revolutionary guard is being designated as a terrorist organization

    narciso (d1f714)

  527. After a reread I’d like to retract @541. I think it’s inconsistent with @521

    frosty48 (6226c1)

  528. I see her replacement Mr. McAleenan is well thought of by congress. This meaning another disastrous pick by Trump.

    An Obama holdover. THere’s still a lot of those given the inability of Trump to get his picks through the Senate. This should change now and we should see about 30 confirmations a week going forward.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  529. Hypothesis: Mayor Pete is the Trump of the Left. He’s got the establishment Dems, Establishment GOP, and wacko Left equally nervous. They’d all like for him to go away, and rhetoric is ramping up. So far he seems able to handle critics from all sides.

    JRH (8f59ea)

  530. Lets hope McAleenan stops the taxi service for illegals, for crying out loud!!

    mg (8cbc69)

  531. Is ICE Uber?

    mg (8cbc69)

  532. Mayor Buttaplug ain’t goin’ no where.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  533. there’s a binary effect over there,

    red squaw is running 3rd in her own state’s ranking, behind slo jo and beto, I think,

    narciso (d1f714)

  534. rip, nadia regin (she was ali karem bey’s girl in from Russia with love)

    narciso (d1f714)

  535. His arguments, in short, like Mr. Shearers, are based on what he thinks the law ought to be, not what the law is. I find that unpersuasive and indeed misleading to others. And sputtering hyperbole about what might get one thrown in Supermax is no substitute for citing and discussing the actual law.

    I both accept this and think that it exposes the philosophical problem between lawyers and the general public.

    To an attorney, the Rule of Law seems to mean just that — the laws as written are enforced without special dispensations. It does not matter that the laws are unfair, self-dealing to the people who wrote them, contradictory, badly written or interpreted, or in potential conflict with other laws or general constitutional principles. Just so long as they are still in effect, the laws are the laws, and there are always appeals if there’s a problem. Only when government actions are extra-legal does a concern for the Rule of Law seem to emerge.

    If this isn’t the case for any or all attorneys, fine, but it is the perception from over here.

    It is not “frustration” with the law that laymen such as I have. It’s that the “Rule of Law” is a broader meme to us. To us, it involves predictability, consistency, logical progression, the lack of special nooks and crannies for scoundrels, a general fairness and adherence to Constitutional principles. As well as avoidance of extra-legality. When the actual laws diverge from this, we look at them as being part of the problem, not part of the solution. This leads to the ongoing discontent that many laymen have with the legal profession, weaselly lawyers in particular, and the ultimate of weaselly lawyers: legislators.

    So, yes, when the apparent reading of a provision (which appears to offer the citizen protection) conflicts with the hidden fully-resolved effect of the provision, we get upset. When similar provisions apply to us in our lives, and any attempt to get around them like this would be dealt with (and should* be dealt with) harshly, we start to see red.

    I will accept that the oft-repeated “protection” that I cited is not what it seems to be. This does not make me feel better about it; it seems intentionally fraudulent. Congress exempting itself from laws it writes is an ongoing problem, smacks of titles of nobility, and does not burnish the reputation of Congress or the legal system. (That Congress has a stranglehold over Amendments is, not for the first time, unfortunate.)

    I note that NY state, which apparently DOES have strong protections against releasing taxpayer’s information is seeking to change the law to allow legislative committees to “review” individual returns, for good and noble purposes that are as believable as Trump’s thing about “audits.” Again, this is the kind of seemingly targeted, self-serving and politically-motivated legislation that strikes people like me as a weakening of the Rule of Law, in the same sense that Thomas More rebuked Will Roper in the movie.

    ———–
    * e.g. Hillary Clinton and her handling of TS and TS:SCI material

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  536. Prediction: If Trump’s returns are obtained and released by the committee, and they are no more “damning” than the single return that was released earlier (Trump tried to write off all kinds of stuff, but paid AMT in the end), it will be a political mistake and will increase public support for Trump.

    Second prediction: The returns of some Democrat members of Ways & Means will also find their way to the press and these will be cherry-picked for their awfulness. Any issues with the Executive not having the power to release them can always be handled by pardoning the unfortunately aggressive aide.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  537. The second prediction is based on Trump being dumb, impulsive and tone-deaf to all other than his base.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  538. FWIW, the IRS takes the position that Committees of Congress are bound to maintain the confidentiality of the tax returns they are given:

    Disclosure to Committees of Congress
    The law allows congressional committees to receive tax information, but only in
    a closed executive session, unless the taxpayer consents in writing otherwise. The
    heads of three committees may request tax information from the IRS — the House
    Committee on Ways and Means, the Senate Committee on Finance, and the Joint
    Committee on Taxation. Other committees may request tax information only when
    specifically authorized by their respective body of Congress, or, for a joint committee,
    by a concurrent resolution of the House and Senate. Congressional members or
    staffers who receive taxpayer information must maintain its confidentiality unless the
    taxpayer consents in writing to its disclosure.

    https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-news/fs-97-12.pdf

    nk (dbc370)

  539. a slap on the wrist, graymail dontcha know:

    I dunno. A few years in prison, being a felon, loss of the presumed legal license and becoming unemployable in any above-board political organization is a problem. Perhaps Soros will hire him. But it’s more than a slap on the wrist, and in line with what the Magruders of the Nixon world got.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  540. Kevin M, if we don’t like the law, the law should be changed. There’s a process for that. We had a GOP controlled congress and white house for 2 years and there was very little draining of the legislative / official process swamp.

    If the law allows congress to look up anybody’s tax returns and do whatever they want with the information (IANAL and have no opinion if it does or not) the law should be changed. If we’re not going to change the law, then by all means apply it to the rich and powerful. Apply it to the president. Apply it to members of congress. Apply it to senior staffers.

    During the Russia investigation there was a lot of tweeting and talking about how this or that thing was unfair or wrong or outrageous. I agree with many of the complaints. But I’m not aware of any legislative proposals to address them. I’m not aware of any direction given to the DOJ to update their internal policies that would curtail similar tactics in the future.

    As near as I can tell the current administration only objects to unjust law when it’s applied to them, and doesn’t think fixing the law so it can’t be used in the same way going forward is a priority.

    FWIW I think it’s just and fair and proper for the president and top federal officials to have to show the public where their money is coming from. I also think the law we’ve been discussing is a terrible law if it lets congress publish the tax returns of any random person.

    Time123 (53ef45)

  541. I admit that I am generally unhappy that ANY taxpayer’s information can be disseminated to the public by anyone, other than as an unavoidable by-product of a legal proceeding, or to anyone outside the IRS except as necessary to collect taxes or adjudicate matters related to taxes*.

    This is based on my plain-English reading of Amendments 4 & 5, unfettered by the growth of the Living Constitution. I miss Scalia. So, 2 questions:

    Were it not for the 16th Amendment and the need to collect information to administer an income tax, would it be constitutional for Congress to require citizens to provide detailed information about their personal finances?

    If not, to what degree should Amendments 4 & 5 restrict the government’s use of said information for purposes other than the administration of income tax laws?

    ———-
    *Section 6103 clearly goes further than that in section(l)[ell]

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  542. Congressional staff are employees, no question about it even if Congressmen are not, and subject to Section 6103(a)(1). Neal would have to make his own copies and operate the fax machine himself.

    nk (dbc370)

  543. FWIW, the IRS takes the position that Committees of Congress are bound to maintain the confidentiality of the tax returns they are given

    Well, I guess someone else reads it as I do. Sad to be agreeing with the IRS, though.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  544. Neal would have to make his own copies and operate the fax machine himself.

    Which is one reason I expect they won’t release them officially. But some committee member will leak cherry-picked details.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  545. Don’t be sad, be happy. The IRS has the power to refer criminal prosecutions and to sign the complaint and arrest warrant affidavits, even if in the end there is no conviction or even indictment.

    nk (dbc370)

  546. @ nk (#565): Yes, it makes sense that by policy, as applied to individual congressmen and employees, they’d maintain confidentiality. But the policy you quoted leaves the full committees — acting as a body rather than as individuals — free to vote to release information, which is what I believe would happen.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  547. Grrr. No, they’re not reading it as you do, Kevin M.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  548. @ Patterico, re your #525: I think we’ve mediated this adequately between us, and Kevin M has expressly withdrawn the implication that I support something unlawful.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  549. For something a little different, under subjective morality, would this lady be fit to be President? https://www.foxnews.com/us/tennessee-woman-with-murder-warrant-arrested-at-waffle-house-naked-and-armed-police-say

    nk (dbc370)

  550. BTW, Ronald and Nancy Reagan were married on March 4, 1952. Their first child, Patti, was born on October 21, 1952. That’s seven months and seventeen days afterwards. It takes a long leap across a very wide gutter to conclude that “Nancy was already knocked up”. A seven and half month birth is not even labeled “premature”, just “early”.

    nk (dbc370)

  551. @577.Knocked up. And divorced! Pshaw.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  552. @578. A long leap. Across a wide gutter! Bah!

    nk (dbc370)

  553. Grrr. No, they’re not reading it as you do, Kevin M.

    Because committees. I suspect neither one of us knows how the IRS is actually reading it regarding committees, but I’m not interested enough to argue it.

    But: Is there a precedent when a Congressional committee responsible for a law, and the agency empowered to enforce that law have different interpretations? Does the committee’s interpretation win when it is the committee, not the agency, taking an action? The Chevron thing seems muddled enough without having to pick who to defer to.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  554. A seven and half month birth is not even labeled “premature”, just “early”.

    In 1952, it was “premature.”

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  555. If not, to what degree should Amendments 4 & 5 restrict the government’s use of said information for purposes other than the administration of income tax laws?

    It strikes me that Congress would still have the right to order disclosures related to international commerce, and any other area which COTUS grants it jurisdiction.

    But nitpicking intrusion by the Feds into private transactions is not a new thing. A certain Thomas Jefferson, during the Embargo he sponsored as President, kept for himself the duty of signing government permissions for every ship wanting to trade out of the country. Which meant every ship captain, for every individual voyage of his ship, had to get approval from TJ and to persuade him that the voyage would not break the Embargo.

    Kishnevi (413847)

  556. A cynical tax law question based on my current nightmare (which I will clearly do anything not to face):

    If a plane crashes on the CA-OR border, who do the estates pay death taxes to?

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  557. The rule of thumb w/t rule of law w/this guy is bend it ’til it breaks and catch him if you can.

    Back in the day did a fairly extensive research thesis on ‘initial elected offices [IEOs]’ of public officials elected to national office over the then 200 year history of the nation. The data was tedious and lengthy but quite interesting for polysci types; reflected the character of the country through various eras- the shift from agrarian backgrounders to lawyers and business types as the country grew, the body of law expanded and legislation was quilled. There were spurts of in various eras- and outliers like frontiersmen, aviators, actors, astronauts, minorites, women… and so on entered the mix… scandals, etc. Long story/short, the trend into the 20th century indicated the rise in IEOs w/business backgrounders would cross lawyers an those in other fields as the costs of campaigning rose and increasing resources were necessary for runs. ‘Course campaign finance laws changed as well but the trends in the graphs indicated that sometime -then- in the next 30 to 40 years, a major party would nominate a candidate from the business sector, w/no previous elected office experience, for the top job as their initial elected office and that person would win. The debate was whether the individual would adapt the autocratic nature of business to the Executive to govern or whether government would force the autocrat to operate within its norms and if that individual would prompt government to move more favorable business legislation, etc. The Trump win confirms the projected data trends but the unknown was the personality of the winner. What’s playing out now is the ‘debate’ from back in the day and for me, this is what’s been fascinating. Would a business person fresh from the ‘do it now and do it my way’ corporate autocracy w/a different personality and background resist and operate in similar fashion or be more compliant w/the norms of government ops… It’s fascinating to observe.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  558. Sweet Baby Jesus!!!

    https://t.co/G88kU91hm3

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  559. and any other area which COTUS grants it jurisdiction.

    Not a very huge limitation these days.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  560. @578. Knocked Up II – good title for a movie and an opportunity for a Trump cameo, too!

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  561. In California, “The only ‘death tax’ that California residents need to worry about is the federal estate tax, and that tax falls on the estate of the person who died, not on the people who inherit that property. There is an exemption of $10 million, which is indexed to inflation and is currently $11,400,000, and only people who die with an estate larger than that exemption will have to pay estate tax. It is estimated that only the richest .14% of Americans will be subject to the estate tax, or only two out of every 1,000 people who die.
    If someone dies in California with less than the exemption amount, their estate doesn’t owe any federal estate tax, and there is no California inheritance tax. The heirs and beneficiaries inherit the property free of tax. They don’t pay income tax on it, either, because inherited property is not ordinary income. The only exception to this are inherited retirement accounts, which are subject to income tax as the assets are withdrawn. ”

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  562. I ask this because I moved to NM, THEN sold my CA residence on which I own some residual cap gains.

    It appears that CA gets ALL of my state tax payment and NM none, even though I resided in NM the entire time the sale was in process. California taxes every dime paid by (or imputed to) a CA entity, regardless of where the recipient lives.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  563. *owe

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  564. Kevin, Col H gave the long answer. The short answer is, whichever state the decedent was domiciled is the state where the estate is probated (if trusts, joint tenancies, etc. leave anything to be decided). The only kink is property owned in a different state, which (if probate is needed) goes through probate in the second state, but the oriceeding is limited to the property, not the entire estate,

    Kishnevi (413847)

  565. @576, was going to say no because the woman was “acting erratically,” then I remembered that these days that is considered Presidential. Bonus: she has an expansive view of the 2A. A Waffle in every griddle!

    JRH (8f59ea)

  566. Inheritance taxes are in rem. They’re levied where the estate is located.

    nk (dbc370)

  567. 593, yes. I actually knew that and was riffing off a joke, but see 589.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  568. Kevin, that CA tax should be limited to the property itself (and any other income you received while still living there). You moved to NM, but of course you didn’t take the property with you. So it remains under CA jurisdiction even though you left.
    I may be wrong, of course, but if they are claiming more than that, you might need to contest it.

    Kishnevi (413847)

  569. Understood. But most people don’t realize that if you are paid by ANY California source (e.g. you write software for Apple) while living entirely in NY, you owe CA income tax. Most states don’t flex their muscles like that, but CA does.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  570. Switch roles- if the Trump you know today was in the exact same situation Richard Nixon faced, would he resign or fight on, go down in flames, take everybody with him, then miraculously parachute to save himself.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  571. Mr Trump is a billionaire, and the Infernal Revenue Service scrutinizes, and frequently audits, the returns of billionaires. Do you believe that the IRS under Barack Hussein Obama didn’t look very carefully at Mr Trump’s tax returns once he declared himself to be a candidate?

    Billionaires don’t just file with TurboTax, but have accountants, plural, doing their returns; do you believe that professional accountants, some of who are CPAs, are going to file anything that is criminal? That will cost them their licences, and might get them thrown in jail as well.

    I can’t overstate how unpersuasive I find this argument, but since it recurs over and over in the comments, I will devote a post later to trashing the premise.

    Patterico (8ba5da)

  572. People don’t think that prosecutors might have a different lens than IRS auditors?

    People don’t think that voters should be interested in anything that doesn’t interest auditors or prosecutors?

    Leviticus (646937)

  573. Good lawyers are supposed to be capable of making arguments for both sides.

    Would interesting to read posts by all the pro-Trump lawyers and all the anti-Trump lawyers switching positions to pitch an argument.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  574. “Understood. But most people don’t realize that if you are paid by ANY California source (e.g. you write software for Apple) while living entirely in NY, you owe CA income tax. Most states don’t flex their muscles like that, but CA does.”

    That’s what’s known as the fuggin’ you get for the fuggin’ you got.

    No… here in California, that’s known as the fuggin’ you get.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  575. Billionaires don’t just file with TurboTax, but have accountants, plural, doing their returns; do you believe that professional accountants, some of who are CPAs, are going to file anything that is criminal? That will cost them their licences, and might get them thrown in jail as well.

    Illegal? Probably not. Certainly not the things that get you clapped in prison (not reporting income, fabricating deductions, using “tax shelters” based on selling rocks to yourself, etc). But claiming deductions that might not be allowed? Certainly. Locking value into an object in a tax-free or low-tax place then bringing that value to NY as a cost against income? You betcha! Inflating costs in other ways that might not pass muster (but are not KNOWN to be illegal)? Why not?

    There are lots of things accountants will claim, and argue for, that might get disallowed in an audit. And they might then do the same thing the next year if the worst that can happen is it gets disallowed.

    And it’s not just billionaires who do this, either. Bill Clinton tried to donate his old underwear to charity; it was disallowed. A regular businessman might not be sure he can deduct that microwave he bought for his office, but he does so anyhow. He should not presume what the IRS would decide; they are often inconsistent.

    What people argue is that Trump does this kind of thing to extremes.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  576. When we want to look at Trump’s tax returns, are we looking for illegal actions, or are we looking for opposition research purposes?

    If it’s for illegal actions, New York’s tax people and the Feds audit high earners every year to a greater or lesser degree. New York especially. You’re unlikely to find anything grossly illegal. Maybe something in the ‘immoral or fattening’ category, maybe make him pay a fine. The ‘kinda embarrassing’ category, too. You know, how Bill and Hillary Clinton donated their used underwear and took a thrift store deduction. Instead of just, like, tossing it.

    But there it is, isn’t it? You might find something to point and shriek about. And isn’t that what this is all about? Getting the opportunity to point and shriek about Donald Trump? Will this be the thing that finally convinces people, the pebble that starts the avalanche of Trump disbelief? Good glory, could it be?

    Will the press and the Democrats ever learn that people love to point and shriek at Donald Trump? That they spent 15 seasons doing it on a television show? That pointing and shrieking at him just gives him more positive attention, especially if it’s about something semi-dumb?

    Ingot9455 (8e82a1)

  577. Then you dissalow those exemptions

    https://mobile.twitter.com/Nervana_1/status/1115316631067140099?p=v

    narciso (d1f714)

  578. if the Trump you know today was in the exact same situation Richard Nixon faced,

    Trump is nowhere near the situation Nixon was in — getting caught paying off everyone involved and corrupting the FBI and other agencies in order to hide the WH’s instigation of several major felonies.

    If Trump’s people had broken into Hillary’s home and stolen the contents of her email server, then used the FBI, CIA and IRS, plus ready cash, to hush the whole thing up, then you’d be in the same class of thing.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  579. People don’t think that voters should be interested in anything that doesn’t interest auditors or prosecutors?

    Mostly sex, I think. But not involving Trump.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  580. Mr. Shearer, one wants his tax returns — or his negotiations with the IRS over them — to be private, one should not enter public service. A public servant should be accountable to the public, and his privacy rights will therefore be compromised in rough proportion to the seriousness of the office he holds.

    I have less than zero respect for Trump’s “privacy rights. I reject your guesswork and speculation, which does indeed rest on a presumption that the IRS can’t do its job properly unless the IRS is working in complete privacy. I point out that even after the government sues or indicts someone for tax offenses, thereby making their jeopardy public, negotiations can and do go on that result in the voluntary negotiated settlement, pretrial, over the overwhelming number of such cases. I suggest that your entire scenario originates in your own head, rather than real-world facts.

    I want to see the taxes. I am rooting for Chairman Dean on this occasion. I think our conversation is now exhausted, now that I’ve gotten your astute constitutional analysis and further commentary.

    Beldar (fa637a) — 4/7/2019 @ 8:21 pm

    I get the sense that we ought to be kosher for public officials to be required to publicly disclose tax/financial information when running for higher office.

    I really don’t think this should be that controversial…hell…I’d be okay with just a disclosure to some sort of non-partisan (or rather bi-partisan) entity to work as a taint team to review those documents and simply state “it’s all good”.

    But, I’ll be honest… as a newly converted Trumper… (Kavanaugh/Convington broke me) I don’t really give a rat’s arse about this. I’m pragmatically looking at Trump to simply be a tool (while being a tool to his adversary), so long as he keeps pushing for agendas that I favor.

    But, I’m not too concerned about his potential tax misadventures and even I think it’s highly likely that he and his companies done some shady things.

    If that makes me hypocritical or unsavory if I point out future elected officials doing the same things? Yeah…and I can live with that. He has definitely proven over the last two years that he’s *the* lessor evil of the two choices we were offered. Might as well as maximize our opportunities while we can.

    whembly (b9d411)

  581. #599

    Mr Trump is a billionaire, and the Infernal Revenue Service scrutinizes, and frequently audits, the returns of billionaires. Do you believe that the IRS under Barack Hussein Obama didn’t look very carefully at Mr Trump’s tax returns once he declared himself to be a candidate?

    Billionaires don’t just file with TurboTax, but have accountants, plural, doing their returns; do you believe that professional accountants, some of who are CPAs, are going to file anything that is criminal? That will cost them their licences, and might get them thrown in jail as well.

    I can’t overstate how unpersuasive I find this argument, but since it recurs over and over in the comments, I will devote a post later to trashing the premise.

    Patterico (8ba5da) — 4/8/2019 @ 12:35 pm

    Pat… a new post on this very question would be great.

    After the Enron/Arthur Andersen ordeal… laws were updated for greater accountability by CPA firms and corporation ( Sarbanes-Oxley Act??? )… so, I don’t know if I’m persuaded either as I don’t know who’s doing the Trump organization’s tax paperwork.

    whembly (51f28e)

  582. The New York ZTimes reports that John Mitnik, the general counsel of the Homeland Security department. and L. Francis Cissna, head of US Citizenship and Immigration Services, are on the way out. Numbers USA wants Cissna to stay, but Stephen Miller wants him to go.

    Sammy Finkelman (102c75)

  583. 545: ++

    Harcourt Fenton Mudd (5e0a82)

  584. 603: Yes but the roads and public schools are matchless, the pensions prudently controlled, and our taxes otherwise well spent.

    Harcourt Fenton Mudd (5e0a82)

  585. @605. RE- your last paragraph; well, it isn’t just the Dems or the press- it’s the conservative ideologue crowd now shuffled to the bottom of the deck and the hard and fast rule-of-law-club, too. But essentially, bingo, you’re spot on. Rather than waste $ on alternative candidates, a better investment for Trump enemies might just be purchasing and mailing him McDonald’s gift certificates. 😉

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  586. Well, we know Trump hires the best lawyers, like Michael Cohen, so he presumably hires the same high quality accountants….

    Kishnevi (abbfd8)

  587. @607. That wasn’t the question, Kevin– the question was, knowing the Trump we know today and plugging him into the situation Nixon faced, what do you think he’d have done– resign or duke-it-out and bring down everybody w/him…

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  588. @615. See #601. It would be interesting to read how anti-Trumpster lawyers would quill a pro-Trumpster position.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  589. Most states don’t flex their muscles like that, but CA does.

    My first reaction would be to tell California to take a long walk off a short pier…but I suppose the point is already litigated and decided in favor of California and against the Constitution.
    If so, Congress needs to outlaw it as a flagrant interference with interstate commerce.
    (But not in your case, since it was real property located in CA.)

    Kishnevi (abbfd8)

  590. Narciso, it’s the same stupidity/rigidity that led to Durbin and Ducky’s minion to take it out on the then-still skeptical HFC rather than the open Noo Yawkish partisans. They got burned on Megan Kelly, so maybe its that.

    urbanleftbehind (4157c7)

  591. well seeing as neither suffered any serious consequences for that association, why not repeat it:

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/why-hondurans-flee-for-the-u-s-11554661716

    one of the interesting details she points out is much of the aid ends up supporting the left agenda like cigig in central America,

    narciso (d1f714)

  592. “Well, we know Trump hires the best lawyers, like Michael Cohen, so he presumably hires the same high quality accountants….”

    – kishnevi

    Good point, and well made.

    Leviticus (646937)

  593. @621. OTOH, that can be wholly subjective- was Bell Aircraft right in ‘hiring’ Dornberger; or the U.S. ‘hiring’ the likes of Debus and the rest of the rocket-rat-pack? ‘Allegience ruled by expedience…’ Depends on your POV:

    https://www.businesssinsider.com/nazi-scientists-space-program-2014-2

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  594. Mr Finkelman wrote:

    It’s only all three states combined. Stein’s total in Pennsylvania alone was less than Trump’s victory margin there, and they wouldn’t all have voted for Hillary anyway. Many would not have voted.

    And, of course, adding Dr Stein’s totals to Mrs Clinton’s ignores the obvious answer that we could add Governor Johnson’s votes to Mr Trump’s totals. Governor Johnson received roughly thrice as many votes as Dr Stein. That is just as realistic as playing with Dr Stein’s votes.

    The Dana who can count. (3a78d7)

  595. as did allen dulles and walter bedell smith, (who I don’t think is sally’s father’) now do you approve of such deferral of justice, for Ukrainians, Croatians, slovakians

    narciso (d1f714)

  596. like the cbo which was 170% off in their initial assessment of Obamacare, ditto for medicare, and other programs,

    narciso (d1f714)

  597. Our esteemed host responded to me:

    I can’t overstate how unpersuasive I find this argument, but since it recurs over and over in the comments, I will devote a post later to trashing the premise.

    I look forward to it!

    Might I suggest an addition? What would constitute probable cause for a prosecutor to subpoena someone’s tax returns, and has that threshold been attained against Mr Trump?

    The Dana who never went to law school (3a78d7)

  598. @628. ‘Allegiance ruled by expedience…’ is a slippery slope.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  599. Some tout the NYT as a purveyor of unbiased, well-documented truth. I say, pull the other one:

    “Last week, the New York Times featured an illustrated timeline of “white extremist” killings over the last nine years, with lines demonstrating citation and affiliation among the killers. According to the Times, the record shows “an informal global network of white extremists whose violent attacks are occurring with greater frequency in the West.”

    The idea that white supremacist violence is a growing global threat has gained more currency recently, notably in the wake of the ghastly Christchurch mosque massacre, when an avowed white nationalist murdered 50 Muslims. New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, for instance, asserted that “White supremacists committed the largest # of extremist killings in 2017.” No one will deny that racial hatred is an evil ideology, and that people who kill in the name of white supremacy commit evil—but are the New York Times and Ocasio-Cortez correct that “white extremists” are increasingly sowing worldwide mayhem?

    The evidence suggests otherwise. Even a superficial glance at the record indicates that of the nearly 20,000 people killed in thousands of extremist killings in 2017, white supremacists were responsible for very few. The worst terrorist event of 2017, according to the State Department, was the explosion of a truck bomb outside the Safari Hotel in Mogadishu, Somalia, which killed more than 580 people. This violent act is believed to have been the work of Al-Shabaab, which was responsible for 97 percent of the 370 instances of extremist killings in Somalia in 2017, accounting for about 1,400 deaths—mostly civilian. The remaining violent acts were carried out by Jabha East Africa (ISIS-Somalia), a dissident Al-Shabaab splinter group.

    The deadliest extremist attack in Egypt’s history took place in 2017, when ISIS-Sinai terrorists converged on a mosque in Sinai during Friday prayers and slaughtered 312 people, including 27 children, when they came outside. Also in Egypt that year, on Palm Sunday, an extremist suicide bomber connected to IS-Egypt killed 30 Coptic Christians at a church in Tanta. He coordinated his actions with another suicide bomber, who killed 16 people at a church in Alexandria.

    The first day of 2017 was marked by an ISIS attack on a nightclub in Istanbul; the Uzbeki perpetrator killed 35 people. In April, another Uzbeki rammed a truck into a crowd of people in Stockholm, killing seven. In August, ISIS militant Younes Abouyaaqoub ran a truck into a crowd of people in Barcelona, killing 15 people. I mention these acts of extremist killing in Turkey, Sweden, and Spain to illustrate the global nature of the phenomenon; strictly in terms of the numbers of people killed, they are scarcely of note…”

    https://www.city-journal.org/global-extremeist-violence

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  600. If so, Congress needs to outlaw it as a flagrant interference with interstate commerce.

    There’s a lot of retired LA cops in Idaho who get their pensions dinged now.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  601. Switch roles- if the Trump you know today was in the exact same situation Richard Nixon faced, would he resign or fight on, go down in flames, take everybody with him, then miraculously parachute to save himself.

    If he were in that exact situation at that time he might take the same deal but not for the reason’s I think you are implying. I don’t think Nixon took the deal to save the country. Nixon parachuted to save himself and so would Trump in that situation then. But the chance of us seeing that play out now is low.

    If you’ve got a problem with Trump going down swinging do you think he has another choice?

    frosty48 (647283)

  602. How interesting would it be for it to become common for a president to keep a Nixon/Ford style pardon agreement on deck?

    frosty48 (647283)

  603. Hopefully, it will not become common to elect Presidents like Trump.

    nk (dbc370)

  604. Swalwell has announced his presidential bid.

    Another meatball tossed in the sauce. ‘Trump Luck’ is on a hot-buttered-roll roll; buy that lottery ticket, kids.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  605. well that depends, who will they offer up, those more in the cruz even carson vein, or the mailman, medici stay puft wing, if the former will they rally political support in the caucus beforehand,

    narciso (d1f714)

  606. @634. Not implying anything; simply asking how you’d game it out w/the Trump we know today plugged into the Nixon situation back in ’74. Does he bail alone and save his tail; fight on like a whirling dervish and take the country w/him, etc.,… Nixon bailed but a helluva list of his people ended up w/time in the pokie.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  607. The idea that Trump is especially corrupt to the point of being in a special class is wishful thinking without much evidence. I know I’m not going to convince anyone of this because Trump is despicable is religious dogma. But the biggest issue is that he just doesn’t play the make believe game we’ve become accustomed to. I’m not saying he’s not whatever label you want to apply. I’m saying he’s only different in that he doesn’t pretend to some noble ideal. He doesn’t gaze off into the clouds calling us to follow him on some quest. And yes I’m also implying everyone getting bent out of shape on this is really just pining for the days when our betters had the good breeding to lie to us and pretend to a higher moral standard.

    The idea that he is a singular anomaly is also wishful thinking. AOC was picked in a casting call not dissimilar from American Idol or Apprentice. Have you seen the performances of the 2020 candidates at al sharptons tent revival? The number of serious candidates is small and they get relentlessly attacked usually by the extreme version of their own side.

    frosty48 (647283)

  608. What would constitute probable cause for a prosecutor to subpoena someone’s tax returns, and has that threshold been attained against Mr Trump?

    Which prosecutor and investigating what type of a matter? Section 6103 linked in the post and comments has the answers. For example, a federal prosecutor investigating tax evasion only needs to ask the IRS and they’ll show them to him. A state prosecutor, investigating failure to pay child support, should not need more than the mother’s or social worker’s affidavit that taxpayer daddy has not made the payments required under the support order.

    nk (dbc370)

  609. @580. =sigh= ‘Ronald Reagan married Nancy Davis soon after she told him she was pregnant. Mrs. Reagan obliquely acknowledges the out-of-wedlock pregnancy in her memoir, “My Turn” published in 1989 by Random House.’ -source, NYT, 4/7/91.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  610. I didn’t figure out the tax system properly this year.. We usually get zero back or pay in a little. This year we get a refund. I hate letting these tax perverts use my money for free.

    mg (8cbc69)

  611. 637. Nice!!! Any Amorrr like I’m in the paisa/banda video equivalent of TLC’s Scrubs.

    638. Swalwell is at least movement toward the Energizer bunny + hockey goon the Dems should run…why not add stress and exertion from a young Male opponent, white to boot to father time French fry?

    urbanleftbehind (4157c7)

  612. Go Texas Tech

    mg (8cbc69)

  613. If it prevents a bowed head and moment of silence for events that transpired in August 2017, then go Red Raiders, I suppose.

    urbanleftbehind (4157c7)

  614. I’m saying he’s only different in that he doesn’t pretend to some noble ideal. He doesn’t gaze off into the clouds calling us to follow him on some quest.

    Frosty, what are “Make America Great Again” and “Drain the Swamp” if not noble ideals and summons to a quest…even if they are (MAGA especially) nebulous and undefined?

    My biggest problem with Trump is not his lack of morals but his incompetence, incoherence, and apparent lack of intelligence (demonstrated by his continuing habit of handing opponents guns they can use to take pot shots at him).

    And yes I’m also implying everyone getting bent out of shape on this is really just pining for the days when our betters had the good breeding to lie to us and pretend to a higher moral standard

    But that is important. If you say morals don’t count in a politician, then you are saying it’s okay for politicians to lie to voters with impunity, line their pockets with public revenue, and obey laws only when it’s convenient for them to do so. (In other words act just like the Clintons.)

    Kishnevi (916796)

  615. @648. ‘…(MAGA especially) nebulous and undefined?’

    MAGA ‘nebulous and undefined’?!?! … hmmmmmm explains a lot:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Nc6DbRvAo

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  616. @649/648: ^ bad link; try:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5N9c6DbRvAo

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  617. C’mon, Texas Tech!!!

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  618. @640 I’m not sure I follow; I think I said I thought he would take the deal given to Nixon. Are you asking why I think that?

    I don’t think I’m saying anything that’s especially unusual. Most people in the same situation would take the same deal. As I understand it Nixon was going to get impeached and removed for being part of a criminal conspiracy. This wasn’t really a charge he could avoid or disprove and it wasn’t likely he would survive impeachment. So, between taking a pardon and a losing impeachment fight he picked the pardon. I think Trump in that situation would do the same. I would expect anyone caught in a criminal conspiracy to take a pardon over standing with their co-conspirators in solidarity. Who would fight a losing battle instead of taking the pardon? Given what I think I know about Trump and Nixon I think it’s more likely Trump would make that choice than Nixon.

    Am I missing something or answering the wrong question? I don’t think this is an option Trump will be presented with but that’s a different question.

    frosty48 (6226c1)

  619. Could end up a football score or a Hoosier prep championship score (DCSCA triggered).

    urbanleftbehind (4157c7)

  620. “The final irony? If the CIA, FBI, and DOJ have gone the banana republic way of Lois Lerner’s IRS and shredded the Constitution, they still failed to remove Donald Trump. Trump still stands. In Nietzschean fashion what did not kill him apparently only made him stronger.”

    —- Victor Davis Hanson

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  621. Another Trump edict ruled unlawful.

    Paul Montagu (7968e9)

  622. Based on what, Paul? This?

    “…the program probably violates the Immigration and Nationality Act, the Administrative Procedures Act and other legal protections to ensure that immigrants “are not returned to unduly dangerous circumstances.”

    He seems to be calling Mexico an unduly dangerous place.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  623. What deal would Hillary take?

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  624. Nixon bailed but a helluva list of his people ended up w/time in the pokie.

    Of course they did. If he had started pardoning them at the end, who would be left to answer for the crimes? Oh, right. Let’s not do the pardons then.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  625. So in the end, blame Congress for their inaction on correcting legislative mistakes on immigration, the rogue SOBs on the bench and the leftwing funders of the invasion for this crisis on the southern border.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  626. That’s about the size of it coronello, bidens fisa court was as easy to fool as picking a lock, there is a parallel with the smollett accusation which was equally without merit.
    But those that perpetrated the lie are anotheratter

    Narciso (41b795)

  627. I expect that Trump’s returns (or the returns of his organization) are full of sharp dealing, convenient valuations and tax-aware transactions. It’s probably pretty disgusting and also probably all legal. Just.

    And if you were to compare it to, say, Intel’s returns there would be a great deal of similarity.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  628. All the judges hide out in the 9th Circuit. Now that they can confirm 5 judges a day, maybe this will change some.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  629. @659. Uh-huh, the rightists would never ‘burn their own reichstag,’ would they.

    Herr Trump says America is ‘full up’– the Captain craves a little ‘lebensraum’… and w/Canadians being so polite and all, be on guard, Mexico—’round about September 1st.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  630. Opalocka, the Oakland of south Florida doesn’t deserve this:
    https://www.dailycaller.com/2019/04/08/sheriff-scott-israel-suspended-police-chief-opalocka/

    Narciso (41b795)

  631. Trump should have copied Slick Willie and fired as many hacks as possible.

    mg (8cbc69)

  632. He seems to be calling Mexico an unduly dangerous place.

    Is that really in dispute?

    Paul Montagu (7968e9)

  633. @648 Frosty, what are “Make America Great Again” and “Drain the Swamp” if not noble ideals and summons to a quest…even if they are (MAGA especially) nebulous and undefined?

    Fair enough and point taken.

    If you say morals don’t count in a politician, then you are saying it’s okay for politicians to lie to voters with impunity

    I’m not saying that I don’t think morals matter and based on several responses to comments I think this is something I’m not explaining well. I don’t think I’m a comedian but maybe that is the best analogy. Whether I think it matters or not is irrelevant. I’m saying politicians, at least all of the ones in modern memory, lie to us, we know it, and we play along. Then we repeat the lies, argue with each other, try to claim the moral high ground, etc. I have to be careful here and avoid the ban hammer. But this is almost laughable. We’ve had 24 years at least of lies on lies. The media lies and we just pick which group of lies we like better. And I’m not talking about paying off porn stars or some obscure tax issue but lies that have gotten us into wars, we were at war in multiple locations for all 8 years of Obama’s presidency, lies that negatively impact large sections of the economy and large groups of people. We spent 2 years buried in lies about russiagate in no small part because we found out the truth about what went on behind the scenes in the Democratic campaign and we really don’t want to talk about that.

    Then we pretend all this lying started with Trump. Can anyone name a lie that Trump, or the Trump admin, has put out there that’s bigger or more significant than the Obama admin lying about spying on US citizens and Brennan did that under oath to Congress. The same Brennan who now works for NBC/MSNBC and has been lying about russiagate. Some of the same people who lied about Iraq, namely Mueller, are still around and taken seriously. I can go on. This is not a short list.

    So, no, I’m not the one saying morals don’t count in a politician. I’m just commenting on the obvious.

    frosty48 (6226c1)

  634. It’s rather reaching, frosty
    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/

    Narciso (41b795)

  635. 650. frosty48 (6226c1) — 4/8/2019 @ 6:29 pm

    Am I missing something or answering the wrong question?

    Well, for one thing, there was no deal between Nixon and Ford. And if there had been a deal, it wouldn’t have been enforceable.

    Ford pardoned Nixon because he was asked a question at a press conference about it. And because he wanted to end the long national nightmare. But he didn’t end the nightmare dream – he stopped the movie – and people were angry. He should have waited at least until there was an indictment. Then there would have been something specific to pardon him for.

    Nixon didn’t resign because he was caught. He just looked guilty – but what was on the June 23 1972 was a separate matter – Nixon agreeing to try to hide the connection of the waterate burglars to the Committee to Re-Elect the President – something which was already known, and which had no effect (the CIA did not lie to the FBI) after which Nixon had no interest in a cover-up. What the tape showed was not anything he had been accused of.

    Nixon never authorized any payments to anybody. John Dean got the money for that by lying to the people around him, telling them different lies, by the way. Nixon ran the kind of administrration where that was possible.

    Nixon only authorized a payment to the burgkars once, on March 21, 1973, to E. Howard Hunt. And John Dean went to him for authorization after he had already given Hunt the money!!

    John Dean did not say Hunt should be given the money in order that he should not tell the truth about the Watergate break-in. John Dean knew Nixon had no interest in hiding the truth about Watergate, and hadn’t since a week after the break-in, or since John Mitchell resigned as his campaign manager I think on June 28 , 1972 and certainly not since July 6, 1972.

    John Dean invented a story as to why Nixon should give Hunt money. He said Hunt was trying to blackmail him. Over what? Over the break-in into Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiarists office. Which Nixon thought was politically damaging but legally justifable as a national security matter. If something was done in all seriousness for national defense, it was not illegal, Nixon believed. The break-in into Daniel Ellsberg psychiatrist’s office was for sure not a political thing even though it was done by people who later broke into the Democratic National Committee.

    Now there is this little thing called the 4th amendment and it’s not legal, but for years the FBI had operated under that assumption, until the mob brought a case to the U.S. Suprmee Court and won:
    Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347 (1967), one of several criminal justice cases won by organized crime in the 1960s. Another one was Mapp v. Ohio – 367 U.S. 643 (1961). The whole FISA warrant process is the result of Katz v. United States.

    But Nixon still didn’t feel it was the law. Attorney General John Mitchell hadn’t really accepted it. Nixon felt he might be in trouble for using a different interpretation of the law than was accepted by the Democrats in Congress, but it was not a criminal matter.

    Nixon resigned because he had lost his support in Congress (almost like this was a Parliamentay system) and because Henry Kissinger convinced him that that was needed to solve the crisis in Cyprus. Which, as of this date, almost 45 years later, is exactly the same as the way it was in July and August 1974.

    Trump would not listen to his Secretary of State that way. Trump would also either be tweeting like crazy, or following a plan of defense which his lawyers would assure him would work. The other thing is, what they’ve got now is nothing. Maybe there’s something in his affairs, but it is nothing of what has been talked about.

    Sammy Finkelman (03c829)

  636. 644, mg (8cbc69) — 4/8/2019 @ 5:29 pm

    I didn’t figure out the tax system properly this year.. We usually get zero back or pay in a little. This year we get a refund.

    You sound like someone who changed the clock the worng way when they changed the clocks.

    The IRS sets withholding according to someone who does not itemize deductions. Peopl eho iteize or used to itemize deducxtions sometimes added extra exemptions to bring their tax eithholding more in line with what they owe. When the tax law was changed in December 2017, the IRS (following Trump’s or his apointees instructions) reduced the withholding. So people who itemized for 2017 but didn’t for 2018 could owe money because te standard deduction was greatly increased and itenized deductions more limited.

    Now there’s another way to owe money. That;s when an employer (who pays so little that the employee is exempt from withholding) does not take out Social Security tax. TAx preparers don’t steer people correctly as to what they’re supposed to do about this.

    Sammy Finkelman (03c829)

  637. Most people are getting bigger refunds this season. Ask any tax preparer. That NYT (or WaPo?) story earlier this year that people were disappointed because they were getting smaller ones than they expected was pure #FakeNews nattering nabobbery of negativism a/k/a as mainstream journalism.

    nk (dbc370)

  638. @669 I thought I knew the history and I wasn’t aware of this angle with Cyprus. So, given that, I wouldn’t use the analogy of Trump being in the same situation without trying to understand this part of it. My insistence of putting Trump in ’74 has more to do with how I don’t think this pardon option would come up now and not to take advantage of something like FISA or Cypress.

    I do think that if Trump were caught in a no-win and was offered an out that he would take it rather than go down Hilter style in the bunker. I thought that was the jest of the original question.

    And yes, I don’t think we’ll see this scenario for a variety of reasons.

    frosty48 (6226c1)

  639. @669 A quick google search on this Cyprus thing and it sounds a little deep state conspiracy adjacent. Not saying that’s a good or bad thing, just saying.

    frosty48 (6226c1)

  640. Most people are getting bigger refunds this season.

    It depends. In California, the $10K limit on state tax deductions hurts. Since many middle-class (for CA) families have sizable mortgage interest payments, the increased standard deduction isn’t useful and the $10K limit is an additional squeeze.

    My situation this year is abnormal, but the cap cost me over $15K in itemized deductions after getting raked over the coals with CA’s full taxation of very-long-term capital gains.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  641. What a great game!!!

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  642. 671… those bullschiff newspapers lied? Who woulda thunk it!?!?

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  643. I said this a few weeks ago, but (allowing for the fact that my situation is not on all fours with last year or the year before) my overall tax rate and the check I will send in later this week is not much different from what I paid in previous years.

    Kishnevi (39af22)

  644. @671. Might wanna get yourself a pregnancy test kit…

    From earlier today… Tax refunds through March down $6 billion from last year…

    Refunds are down an average of $20 and 79.4% of processed returns rec’d a refund, compared w/ 80.1% through March 30 of last year. -source, TheHill, 4/8/19

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  645. Fisa came after Katz sammeh, Biden wrote the legislation

    Narciso (41b795)

  646. If there hadn’t been a town after the oil which of 73, which was the result of Watergate encouraging the Russians they could push against Israel nixon would have held out.

    Narciso (41b795)

  647. Will this fooferaw encourage the Iranians to move in a big way in Yemen or Iraq

    Narciso (41b795)

  648. Texas Tech can hold their heads high. Jerome and Hunter are legit players.

    Paul Montagu (7968e9)

  649. Anyone who plays at that level is a “legitimate player”.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  650. Anyone who plays at that level is a “legitimate player”.

    They’re the only players in the tournament who scored consistently against the Texas Tech defense. There’s legit, and then there’s legit, so says five decades of playing the game, including college.

    Paul Montagu (7968e9)

  651. Pshaw! Most people are getting bigger refunds. Ask any tax preparer.

    The relatively small percentage who are getting smaller refunds or no refund at all (probably in the high-SALT states as pointed out above) may tilt the national statistical average, and that has as much as do with the individual situations of most people as Jeff Bezos walking into a McDonald’s and suddenly everybody in the place becoming, on average, a billionaire.

    nk (dbc370)

  652. 679.Narciso (41b795) — 4/8/2019 @ 9:43 pm

    Fisa came after Katz sammeh, Biden wrote the legislation

    I know it vame after Katz, which was in 1967. I thought hat legislation was written in 1969. Maybe FISa was alater update. Biden was elected to the senate in 1972, ahirtly before his 30th birthday (but his eterm began on January 3, 1973 after that)

    So I need to check into all of that. And Cyprus was the argument Kissinger made. And there nevever was adeal to pardon Nixon, although on the other hand, Ford never rled it out. To make such adeal would be too eager to become president, and as I said, sch deals are unenforceable in any case. Nixon probab;y did not feel he was guilty of committing a crime.

    Sammy Finkelman (03c829)

  653. Another thing is, people who file early disproprtionately claim refunds, and the number of early fi

    Sammy Finkelman (03c829)

  654. Here’s something interesting I did not know (not everything gets into every newspaper)

    https://nsarchive.gwu.edu/NSAEBB/NSAEBB263

    ….Unbeknownst to the rest of the U.S. government, Kissinger secretly taped his incoming and outgoing phone conversations and had his secretary transcribe them. After destroying the tapes, Kissinger took the transcripts with him when he left office in January 1977, claiming they were “private papers.” In 2001, the National Security Archive initiated legal proceedings to force the government to recover the telcons, and used the freedom of information act to obtain the declassification of most of them. After a three year project to catalogue and index the transcripts, which total over 30,000 pages, this on-line collection was published by the Digital National Security Archive (ProQuest) this week.

    This week = December 23, 2008

    Sammy Finkelman (03c829)

  655. Theres probably more there, but from just that web page:

    Document 13: “Inordinately Painful”

    With Federal Reserve Board Chairman Arthur Burns, 10 August 1974, 2:33 p.m.

    Kissinger and Burns commiserated over Nixon’s resignation and the circumstances surrounding it. According to Kissinger, Nixon’s family was not helpful because “they wanted to keep fighting” but he believed that the fight could not go on: “Enough is enough.” Plainly a supporter of some kind of pardon, Kissinger did not want “to see a former President … in jail or in court. He wasn’t a bad president.”

    Kissinger did not want Nixon in prison, but he is talking like that is still undecided, which it was. The idea there was a deal doesn’t really have any source except surmise by cynical people and White House Chief of Staff Alexander Haig trying to do that, maybe. I don’t think Nixon considered himself in need of a pardon.

    Also:

    In a conversation with President Nixon on the illegal wiretap scandal in June 1973, Nixon threatened to go to political war with Democrats if they pressed the issue. “Lets get away from the bullshit,” Nixon stated angrily. “Bobby Kennedy was the greatest tapper.” The President even suspected his own phone had been wiretapped in the early 1960s. “[J.Edgar Hoover] said Bobby Kennedy had [the FBI] tapping everybody. I think that even I’m on that list,” President Nixon told Kissinger. When Nixon noted that the wiretap scandal would “catch some of your friends,” Kissinger responded: “Well, I wouldn’t be a bit unhappy.”

    The break-in into Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist’s office was in the same category. Nixon didn’t consider exceeding authority, (if that’s what it was) if not done for improper reasons, to be criminal. Although Mark Felt and others were later prosecuted for it and later pardoned by Reagan.

    Nixon didn’t feel the hush money payment he authorized John Dean to give to Hunt (after the fact although he didn’t know it) to be a criminal matter, and ,as for that half-hearted (and it was half-hearted – just study that June 23, 1972 “smoking gun” conversation) attempt to conceal the connection of the Watergate burglars to his re-election committee, which he only got remined of in July 1974, it was something he probably thought he had a defense to, maybe since nothing came of it, and it all involved the idea of one government organ saying something to another, except that never came to pass. Justice was not obstructed, and it wasn’t even attempted, since thhe FBI was never told that lie. Nixon had nothing to do wth what happened after the beginning of July, 1972.

    Sammy Finkelman (03c829)

  656. 106, Kevin M (21ca15) — 4/5/2019 @ 2:51 pm

    Nixon didn’t cheat on his taxes either.

    When Nixon said “I am not a crook” he was speaking about his income taxes.

    The Democrats forced an audit and found at least two big things wrong.

    One I remembered from the time, was the donation of his Vice-presidential papers to charity.

    For years, politicians and writers and such had been able to deduct, as a charitble contribution an assessed market value of their papers (which cost them little or nothing to produce. You could do the same thing with a painting or stick, or anything wih an unrealized capital gain.)

    Congress changed the law with regard to manuscripts and private papers effective July 25, 1969.

    Nixon donated his vice presiential papers somewhere, with the intention of doing it before July 25, 1969, but it seems the transfer was not complete and final by July 25, and his tax lawyer, Herbert Kalmbach may have backdated something or other. This is something I need to use a search engine to get the details on.

    The second one, which I read about in the last year or two, was the sale of his home in New York and his purchase of one in California (San Clemente) A taxpayer is able to avoid a certain amount of capital gain if he sells his main home and buys another within a specified period of time. Nixon had applied that provision.

    Under the audit conducted by the Democrats in Congress, that as disallowed because they said, after January 20, 1969 his main home was the White House!

    Sammy Finkelman (03c829)

  657. “There’s legit, and then there’s legit, so says five decades of playing the game, including college.”

    Watch those knees! The word’s “legitimate”, Kanye.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  658. Or is it MC Hammer?

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  659. I cheat at golf. You can also GFY if you want to look at my tax returns because of it. D.GOOCH

    GOOCH (270456)

  660. The New York Times ran an editorial today saying that income tax returns should be public. It said that the law in 1924 (and a different law passed in 1924 said two Congressional committees could get a look at any tax return) and it was also the case with the income tax law during the Civil War.

    Neal wrote the IRS that motives don’t matter. The Treasury Department is trying to argue no legislative purpose.

    Sammy Finkelman (30b6b6)


Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 1.4526 secs.