Ivanka Trump with former president Donald Trump at the White House

Ivanka Trump, center, with former President Donald Trump at the White House

New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office was forced to request the state Supreme Court judge overseeing her $250 million fraud case against Donald Trump help resolve the failure of the ex-president, his three eldest adult children, and the Trump Organization to hand over documents required for discovery.

James’ office (OAG) notably “singled out ‘an unexplained drop-off in emails for Ivanka Trump’ as one of the more significant issues,” reports Forbes.

The Attorney General also asked Judge Arthur Engoron to require the Trumps to complete a “compliance affidavit.”

“OAG believes this proposed order is necessary given Defendants’ failure to preserve, collect and produce documents and materials in a timely and transparent fashion,” the letter reads. “While we have recently begun receiving documents responsive to our discovery demands, Defendants have provided no timeline for the completion of their production, and more concerningly have not answered questions about the custodians, sources and means used to undertake their production.”

“For months,” the letter continues, her office “has been seeking an explanation for gaps in the productions made by the Trump Organization. Many of these issues date back to the underlying investigation that preceded this action and involved the collection and search of devices and databases.”

The letter also claims the Trumps have “either ignored the inquiries, provided non-substantive responses, or passed the buck to counsel no longer engaged in the case.” She is asking “for Defendants to provide sworn certifications detailing the process they followed for preserving, searching and producing documents in response to OAG discovery notices.”

James’ office also points to a letter from September of last year in which she expressed concern over Ivanka Trump’s drop in production of documents.

“In the first nine months of 2014, Ms. Trump is on an average of 1,218 emails per month. That drops to just 299 emails in October 2014 with an average of 242 emails through December 2015. In 2016 she averages just 37 emails per month.”

As CNBC explains, the New York Attorney General’s suit “accuses Trump of repeatedly overstating the values of his assets in statements to banks, insurance companies and the IRS in order to obtain better loan and tax terms.”

Separately, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg last month charged Donald Trump with 34 felony violations related to his alleged hush money payoff to a porn star. The charges, Bragg’s office announced last month, are “for falsifying New York business records in order to conceal damaging information and unlawful activity from American voters before and after the 2016 election.”

Trump is also being investigated by a Georgia District Attorney for his efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election. He is being investigated by the Justice Department’s special counsel for his efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, and for his retention and refusal to return, even after being subpoenaed, hundreds of documents with classified markings removed from the White House and stored at his Mar-a-Lago residence and resort.

Trump’s attorneys are also currently in court fighting a civil lawsuit brought by journalist E. Jean Carroll, who alleges the ex-president raped her in the 1990s, then defamed her when he denied her claims.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

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House Republicans Waste $185 Billion To Protect Wealthy Tax Evaders

Internal Revenue Service headquarters in Washington, D.C.

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House Republicans voted on Monday to cut funding for the Internal Revenue Service's efforts to crack down on tax evasion by wealthy individuals and large corporations. An estimate by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office predicts the bill would cost the government more than $185 billion in lost revenue over the next decade — all money that the Treasury Department is owed by individual and corporate taxpayers.

The Family and Small Business Taxpayer Protection Act, which passed the House along party lines, 221-210, would cancel $71 billion in funds over 10 years. The funding, already appropriated in the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act to modernize and boost enforcement by the IRS, is expected to be more than offset by the additional collected revenue. In total, the CBO estimates the GOP cuts would actually result in the government ending up $114 billion poorer.

The $71 billion is set to allow the cash-strapped agency to replace retiring staff, modernize systems, and improve enforcement of existing tax laws. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen ordered in August that the funds not be used to audit anyone making under $400,000 a year.

But Republican lawmakers unanimously opposed the Inflation Reduction Act, with many falsely claiming that its IRS funding would be used to hire an "army" of 87,000 new agents to "spy on" and target the middle class and small businesses with audits. In reality, much of the money would go to replace the 50,000 IRS employees eligible to retire within five years.

After the GOP won a narrow majority in the midterm elections, incoming Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy announced that his caucus' first priority would be to "repeal the 87,000 IRS agents."

The vote to cut funding to the IRS came just days after McCarthy, as one of his concessions to far-right critics within his own party whose votes he needed to become speaker, agreed to push a 10-year plan to balance the federal budget. Such a plan would require draconian spending cuts, likely including a reduction in spending on safety net programs like Social Security and Medicare.

Enactment of the legislation would make that job even more difficult, requiring another $114 billion in cuts to federal programs to offset the cuts in federal tax revenue. Republicans have pushed to protect defense spending, meaning these cuts would likely have to come from discretionary spending on domestic programs.

The Center for a Responsible Federal Budget, a fiscally conservative nonprofit, warned Monday that passage of the bill "would increase deficits by more than $100 billion over the next decade while encouraging tax cheating, expanding the tax gap, and undermining a policy supported by every President since Ronald Reagan, including Donald Trump." The annual tax gap is the difference between what is owed to the IRS and what is actually paid on time.

Chuck Marr, vice president for federal tax policy for the progressive Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, also blasted the bill, calling it "a misleading gambit to protect interests of wealthy tax cheats."

"A key element of a healthy, functioning democracy is a transparent tax system that is fairly enforced so that people and corporations pay what they owe and the well-heeled and powerful cannot flout their responsibility to pay their taxes," Marr wrote. "Efforts to protect wealthy tax cheats and purposely undermine the IRS's ability to enforce tax laws are anti-democratic and should be resoundingly rejected."

White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain retweeted media coverage of the CBO's scoring on Monday, observing that the GOP bill was "Good for tax cheats, bad for the economy."

President Joe Biden said he plans to veto the legislation, though it's unlikely to reach his desk with a Democratic-controlled Senate.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.