The Jury Talks Back

7/24/2019

President Trump Sues To Prevent Obtainment of His Tax Records

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 8:04 am

[guest post by Dana]

I posted earlier this month about Gov. Cuomo signing a bill that would allow to congressional committees to access the president’s state tax returns: “The bill requires state tax officials to release the president’s state returns for any “specified and legitimate legislative purpose” on the request of the chair of one of three congressional committees: the House Ways and Means Committee, the Senate Finance Committee and the Joint Committee on Taxation.”

Unsurprisingly, President Trump is suing the state over the tax return law, calling it “political retribution”:

“We have filed a lawsuit today in our ongoing efforts to end presidential harassment. The targeting of the president by the House Ways and Means Committee, the New York Attorney General, and a New York tax official violates Article 1 of the US Constitution,” Jay Sekulow, counsel to the president, said in a statement. “The harassment tactics lack a legitimate legislative purpose. The actions taken by the House and New York officials are nothing more than political retribution.”

The state of New York plans to fight this lawsuit:

“President Trump has spent his career hiding behind lawsuits, but, as New York’s chief law enforcement officer, I can assure him that no one is above the law — not even the president of the United States,” Attorney General Letitia James said. “The TRUST Act will shine a light on the president’s finances and finally offer transparency to millions of Americans yearning to know the truth. We have all the confidence that this law is legal and we will vigorously defend it against any court challenge.”

Some are questioning the state’s pursuit of Trump’s tax returns:

What legitimate legislative or law enforcement purpose is served by demanding the release of the President’s tax returns, either federal or state? Congress is charged with providing oversight, but that doesn’t include going on politically driven fishing expeditions.

While it’s true that most presidents and presidential candidates release at least some of their returns voluntarily, it’s never been mandatory. And our tax laws are set up in such a way as to take great pains to keep everyone’s returns private except under extraordinary circumstances. If the citizens of the nation truly think it’s a terrible thing for a presidential candidate not to voluntarily disclose their returns, the remedy is to not vote for them or vote them out at the next election.

So what specific crime does the committee believe has taken place and how would Donald Trump’s tax returns help resolve the situation? All we’ve heard thus far is some vague references to the emoluments clause, but for a person who owns a chain of international hotels, that’s a ridiculous charge since it couldn’t possibly be avoided.

–Dana

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