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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 4/15/19

Refusing To Release His Tax Returns, Trump Violates Federal Law

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After all the murders he either committed or was at least behind, after all the bootleg liquor he smuggled, the money he extorted, the prostitution rings he had a hand in, it was tax evasion that ultimately sent the notorious mobster Al Capone to prison.

Could the same fate befall Donald Trump, or least those covering for him?

On Saturday, House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal sent another letter to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig demanding his agency comply with the law and release six years of Trump's tax returns by 5:00 p.m., Tuesday, April 23.

This came after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin refused last week to comply with an initial request, stating:

"The committee's request raises serious issues concerning the constitutional investigative authority, the legitimacy of the asserted legislative purpose and the constitutional rights of American citizens. The legal implications of this request could affect protections for all Americans against politically motivated disclosures of tax information, regardless of which party is in power."

There is no "serious issue concerning constitutional investigative authority."

Congress is acting on authority granted in the IRS Code section 6103(f):

"Upon written request from the chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives, the chairman of the Committee on Finance of the Senate, or the chairman of the Joint Committee on Taxation, the [Treasury] Secretary shall furnish such committee with any return or return information specified in such request, except that any return or return information which can be associated with, or otherwise identify, directly or indirectly, a particular taxpayer shall be furnished to such committee only when sitting in closed executive session unless such taxpayer otherwise consents in writing to such disclosure."

This does not exclude anyone.

Not even the President of the United States.

Trump told a reporter "No, there is no law" when asked if federal law requires him to hand over his tax returns.

But Tax Analysts historian Joseph J. Thorndike argued:

"Despite what the president said, there is a law."

The last president from whom Congress requested tax returns was Richard Nixon, who complied, revealing he owed $477,000 in additional taxes.

"So there is good historical reason to be concerned," Thorndike concluded.

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Ted Millar is a writer and teacher. His work has been in featured in myriad literary journals, including Straight Forward Poetry, Better Than Starbucks, the Broke Bohemian, Caesura, Circle Show, Cactus Heart, Third Wednesday, and The Voices (more...)

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