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Colorado resident Isadora Bielsky was recently brought to tears when she learned that, rather than getting a refund, she owed $8,000 in taxes this year, thanks to the GOP tax scam.

But while Republicans punish folks like Bielsky, federal data shows U.S. banks ended 2018 with $28.8 billion in extra profit because of the same Republican tax bill.

Banks saw their profits soar by more than $70 billion over 2017 levels, but the $28.8 billion was solely because of goodies and kickbacks Republicans inserted into the tax bill, which passed Congress in late 2017 without a single vote from a Democrat.

While Republicans lavished breaks on wealthy corporations, many families are now learning that the GOP left them out in the cold.“I don’t know who it’s helping, but it’s not helping the middle class,” a single mother told one Massachusetts television station.

She had just learned that she would be getting a significantly lower tax refund this year than she expected.But the tax law is greatly benefiting certain segments of America: banks and wealthy corporations. Amazon made $11.2 billion profit, but rather than pay any taxes, they filed for a $129 million refund. Other corporations like Goodyear, Netflix, and U.S. Steel each made hundreds of millions of dollars in profits, and each is seeking a refund.

When they set to work revising the tax code, Republicans did all they could to favor the wealthy and powerful. Trump and his congressional allies slashed the corporate rate from 35 percent to 21 percent, and kept plenty of loopholes to further reduce corporate burdens. But for families, Republicans made sure 80 percent of the benefits from their plan eventually flow to the richest one percent of families.

The issue for working families is exacerbated because of new tax withholding rules in the GOP tax scam. When Republicans bragged about bigger paychecks last year — even highlighting a woman who would only take home an additional $1.50 per week — they failed to mention that the new withholding rules would impact tax refunds this April.

Even for taxpayers like Bielsky who tried to do everything right, the GOP tax scam managed to pack a financial wallop. Bielsky has a Ph.D. in neuroscience, and her husband is a doctor. They went to the IRS website to make sure their withholdings were correct.

“If we can’t figure this out, and we can’t rely on the IRS and their calculators to give us the right information, what are we supposed to do?” she said, speaking with a local CBs affiliate.

As more Americans file their taxes, more are learning the extent of the damage wrought by the Republican Party. Early IRS data shows that if people are getting a refund, it is eight percent lower, on average, than last year. However, the same data shows 16 percent fewer people are even receiving a refund this year.

“It was a big scam that was put over on people that, ‘oh, these tax cuts are gonna be for everybody,’” Diane Masters told a local Massachusetts television station. “They are not for everybody at all,” she added.

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

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  • 1.Why did Trump choose to hide certain specific files and not others at Mar-a-Lago? What were the criteria that Trump used to keep some files concealed and not others? Who selected those files? Did Trump consult or direct anyone in his selection of secret files? Trump was notorious for being too impatient to read his briefing papers, even after they had been drastically shortened and simplified. Is there the slightest evidence that he spirited these papers away so that he could consult or study them? Who besides Trump knew of the presence of the files he had concealed at Mar-a-Lago?
  • 2. Mar-a-Lago has an infamous reputation for being open to penetration even by foreign spies. In 2019, the FBI arrested a Chinese woman who had entered the property with electronic devices. She was convicted of trespassing, lying to the Secret Service, and sentenced and served eight-months in a federal prison, before being deported to China. Have other individuals with possible links to foreign intelligence operations been present at Mar-a-Lago?
  • 3. Did members of Trump's Secret Service detail have knowledge of his secret storage of the files at Mar-a-Lago? What was the relationship of the Secret Service detail to the FBI? Did the Secret Service, or any agent, disclose information about the files to the FBI?
  • 4. Trump's designated representatives to the National Archives are Kash Patel and John Solomon, co-conspirators in the investigations into Russian interference in the presidential election of 2016, the Ukraine missiles-for-political dirt scandal that led to the first impeachment in 2019, and the coup of 2020. Neither has any professional background in handling archival materials. Patel, a die-hard Trump loyalist whose last job in the administration was as chief of staff to the Acting Secretary of Defense, was supposedly involved in Trump’s “declassification” of some files. Patel has stated, “Trump declassified whole sets of materials in anticipation of leaving government that he thought the American public should have the right to read themselves."
  • The White House counsel failed to generate the paperwork to change the classification markings, but that doesn’t mean the information wasn’t declassified.” If Pat Cipollone, the White House legal counsel, did not “generate the paperwork,” was he or anyone on his staff aware at all of the declassifications? The White House Staff Secretary Derek Lyons resigned his post in December 2020. Did his successor, who held the position for a month, while Trump was consumed with plotting his coup, ever review the material found in Trump’s concealed files for declassification? Or did Patel review the material? Can Patel name any individual who properly reviewed the supposed declassification?
  • 5. Why did Trump keep his pardon of Roger Stone among his secret files? Was it somehow to maintain leverage over Stone? What would that leverage be? Would it involve Stone's role as a conduit with the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers during the coup? Or is there another pardon in Trump’s files for Stone, a secret pardon for his activities in the January 6th insurrection? Because of the sweeping nature of the pardon clause, pardons can remain undisclosed (until needed). Pardons are self-executing, require no justification and are not subject to court review beyond the fact of their timely execution. In other words, a court may verify the pardon was valid in time but has no power to review appropriateness. A pardon could even be oral but would need to be verifiable by a witness. Do the files contain secret pardons for Trump himself, members of his family, members of the Congress, and other co-conspirators?
  • 6.Was the FBI warrant obtained to block the imminent circulation or sale of information in the files to foreign powers? Does the affidavit of the informant at Mar-a-Lago, which has not been released, provide information about Trump’s monetization that required urgency in executing the warrant? Did Trump monetize information in any of the files? How? With whom? Any foreign power or entity? Was the Saudi payment from its sovereign wealth fund for the LIV Golf Tournament at Trump’s Bedminster Golf Club for a service that Trump rendered, an exchange of anything of value or information that was in the files? If it involved information in the files was it about nuclear programs? Was it about the nuclear program of Israel? How much exactly was the Saudi payment for the golf tournament? The Saudi sovereign wealth fund gave Jared Kushner and former Trump Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin $2 billion for their startup hedge fund, Affinity Partners. Do the Saudis regard that investment as partial payment for Trump’s transfer of nuclear information? Were Kushner or Mnuchin aware of the secret files at Mar-a-Lago?
  • 7.Did Trump destroy any of the files? If so, when? Did those files contain incriminating information? Did he destroy any files after he received the June subpoena?
  • 8.Were any of the secrets of our allies compromised? Has the U.S. government provided an inventory of breaches or potential breaches to our allies?
  • 9.Does the resort maintain a copying machine near the classified documents that Trump hid? Were any of the documents copied or scanned? Are Trump’s documents at Mar-a-Lago originals or copies? Were any copies shown or given to anyone?
  • 10.Trump’s lawyer Christina Bobb has revealed that a video surveillance system covers the places where Trump hid the files at Mar-a-Lago, and that the system is connected to a system at his other residences at the Bedminster Golf Club in New Jersey and Trump Tower in New York City. According to Bobb, Trump and members of his family observed the FBI search and seizure of his files at Mar-a-Lago, “actually able to see the whole thing” through their surveillance system. Who has that surveillance system recorded entering the rooms where the files were kept?

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