Image courtesy of Slate.com
By Fernando Cordova
Many of the president’s critics have called on President Donald Trump during his more than three and a half years in office to release his official tax returns, citing that there may have been some financial mismanagement before his time in office. The president has always responded to his critics by saying that his taxes are still under audit by the IRS and that “as soon as they’re finished,” the American public will have the opportunity to see them. Despite the IRS audit being more than a decade long, a recent New York Times article reveals reports from an investigation that was conducted into more than 20 years worth of Donald Trump’s tax information, giving people the chance to see what they contain before the audit was even finished.
The initial reporting from the investigation indicated that Trump only paid $750 in federal income taxes in both the year he won the presidency and his first year in office. Additionally, the report also states that he paid no income taxes in 10 of the last 15 years because he lost more money than he made. Besides those two main findings, the New York Times’ investigation also notes much financial stress and forms of mismanagement from over the years: his businesses’ reports of losses, lowering his taxes; receiving money from foreign sources and U.S. interest groups while in office; and having to possibly pay hundreds of millions of dollars in outstanding loans.
Upon the release of the New York Times article, there have been questions as to how Congress, specifically the House Ways & Means Committee and the House Oversight Committee, wasn’t able to obtain Trump’s tax returns before the New York Times was able to. The reason being the federal courts, which have allowed for Trump to delay the litigation regarding the House’s subpoenas until at least after the 2020 election.
Following the release of the New York Times report, there has been criticism from both sides on how the report was released and how the president could have gotten away without paying taxes for so long. In a conference call with Iowa reporters, Sen. Chuck Grassley was critical of how the New York Times obtained the tax information and questioned the legality of the process.
“That information should never have gotten out, and whoever got it out violated the law,” said Grassley.
On the other side, Democrats have been very critical of Trump’s financial misdealings as indicated by the report. Just hours before the first 2020 Presidential Debate, former Vice President and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden responded to the release of Trump’s tax information by deciding to release his own tax returns, and his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris followed.
Deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield said the reason for Biden doing so was to present “honesty and transparency,” also adding in her statement, “It reinforces how much of a choice there is in this campaign between Scranton and Park Avenue.”
The use of the phrase “Scranton and Park Avenue” is one of the campaign tactics that Biden has been using in order to present himself as more connected to middle-class Americans than Trump . Despite the race already nearly 4 weeks away, and with the release of President Trump’s tax information, along with other news during the past week, it’s hard to say whether the results of the 2020 election will be impacted or not.