Like all nominees since Richard Nixon, President Obama did, in fact, publicly release his taxes. The only person to break the trend of transparency was Trump.
The discussion about Trump’s taxes came about because Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA), chair of the Ways and Means Committee, demanded them in a letter to the IRS last week. Under a 1920s-era law, the IRS must furnish any tax returns requested by the chair of the House Ways and Means Committee or the Senate Finance Committee.
Previous chairs in the modern era had no reason to use this provision, as presidential nominees willingly released their returns to the public.
Earlier in his testimony, Mnuchin admitted that Treasury Department lawyers had met with White House lawyers about the issue of Trump’s taxes. Mnuchin claims it happened before the IRS received the official request for them from Congress, but the interaction still raises red flags.
The Washington Post noted that the whole process “is designed to be walled off from White House interference, in part because of corruption that took place during the Teapot Dome scandal in the 1920s.”
If Mnuchin’s team is colluding with White House lawyers on whether and how to respond, they may be undermining the intent of the law.
Mnuchin, Republicans, and Trump allies are going to great lengths to hide whatever is in Trump’s tax returns. Which begs the question: What are they hiding?
Published with permission of The American Independent.
IMAGE: Steven Mnuchin testifies before a Senate Finance Committee confirmation hearing on his nomination to be Treasury secretary in Washington, U.S., January 19, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts