Trump Will Not Release Tax Returns but Wikileaks Will
President Trump’s aide Kellyanne Conway said in a recent interview with George Stephanopolous of This Week ABC that Trump was not planning on releasing his taxes. The question was poised to Conway due to a petition signed by over two-hundred thousand people asking for the release of President Trump’s taxes, to which Conway replied:
“The White House response is that we are not going to release his tax returns. We have litigated this all through the election. People didn’t care, they voted for him and let me make this very clear: Most Americans are very focused on what their tax returns will look like while President Trump is in office, not what his look like.”
— ABC News (@ABC) January 22, 2017
President Trump had previously stated several times when asked about his tax returns that he would release them once the IRS completed their routine audit of his taxes. Which is what Kellyanne Conway also stated in a tweet after the interview in an attempt to walk back her statement.
On taxes, answers (& repeated questions) are same from campaign: POTUS is under audit and will not release until that is completed. #nonews
— Kellyanne Conway (@KellyannePolls) January 23, 2017
However, Conway’s assertion that “people didn’t care” is being highly scrutinized. According to an ABC poll 74% of the respondents wanted to see Trump’s tax returns, 45% of the people responding as Trump supporters said they wanted to see the returns as well. According to the Huffington Post Trump’s lack of releasing his tax returns has angered his “ally” Wikileaks.
Every president since Richard Nixon, save Gerald Ford, has released their tax returns either during the campaign or upon taking office (Ford released a summary when he ran in 1976). Nixon even released his tax returns when they were under IRS audit in the midst of the Watergate scandal.
“Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns shows contempt for the public that elected him, and suggests that President Trump will fall short on even basic questions of public accountability,” said John Wonderlich, the executive director of the pro-transparency nonprofit Sunlight Foundation.
The decision to not release his tax returns, against his promise to do so, has already angered Trump’s allies at WikiLeaks.
Trump Counselor Kellyanne Conway stated today that Trump will not release his tax returns. Send them to: https://t.co/cLRcuIiQXz so we can.
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) January 22, 2017
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange was actually an openly vocal supporter of Green Party candidate Jill Stein. However, WikiLeaks is not a political activist account trying to stump for any candidate, nor do they do any hacking themselves. They merely just release the information given to them. Wikileaks also does not seem to be angry with Trump over this, but more so loves releasing leaked information. While it is highly reasonable to assume the information released by WikiLeaks email dumps helped out Trump’s campaign rather than Hillary Clinton’s, it doesn’t void the fact that egregious information was contained within these leaks. Meanwhile, a majority of the mainstream media organizations did ally themselves with Hillary giving her softball questions in interviews, and down playing the importance of Hillary’s inexcusable behavior as Secretary of State such as “pay to play” with Clinton Global Initiative(CGI) donors. Oddly enough the CGI lost a bit of financial backing after Hillary lost the election and filed a WARN document. (read more here)
Furthermore, it is not a requirement for a presidential candidate to release their tax returns. There was nothing truly notable learned from Hillary’s tax return that would have swayed voters. It was simple enough as it showed her family income for that year, and charitable donations; most of which went into the Clinton Foundation. Nothing shocking at all was contained there within. Trump did fill out the legally required Personal Financial Disclosure as well as release other financial statements publicly.
Via USA Today (May 2015):
Donald Trump has released another financial statement, but critics are still waiting on his tax returns.
Trump’s legally required Personal Financial Disclosure, filed with the Federal Election Commission, “shows a tremendous cash flow, and a revenue increase of approximately $190 million dollars (which does not include dividends, interest, capital gains, rents and royalties),” his campaign said in a statement.
It added that Trump’s “net worth is in excess of $10 billion dollars
If there was anything untoward about Trump’s financial disclosure the Election Commission would have most likely done something about it, as it is their job after all. However, it does seem odd that Trump hasn’t released his tax returns as there is no real reason he cannot release them, other than his claim that his lawyers advised him not to do so. Paul Waldman of the Washington Post, another Clinton “ally”, seems to think it is very unnerving.
There’s virtually no doubt that Trump is hiding something. As I’ve said before, if Trump’s returns showed him to be engaged in various admirable business ventures, a generous donor to charity, and possessed of the wealth he claims, he’d release them in a second.
It’s critical to understand that there has never in American history been a president for whom it was more important that the public see his tax returns. No president has had the kind of complex web of financial interests that Trump does, a network of companies and arrangements and partnerships that provide extraordinary opportunities to essentially sell the presidency. Yet he declined to divest from his company, maintains ongoing business enterprises that allow money to be funneled to him by both domestic and foreign sources, and refuses to tell the public exactly what those enterprises are or how much money he takes in from them.
Waldman goes on to say that an emoluments case is to be filed against Trump. For those who don’t know “emoluments” is an old timey word that basically means a gift, but in the case of politicians it is in reference to gifts from foreign governments, businesses, or other types of foreign powers. If emoluments were in reference to any monies all politicians would be in trouble thanks to lobbyists. It is also curious why Hillary Clinton was never brought up on these charges for the Clinton Global Initiative which was regularly taking money from foreign donors, and in turn receiving favors. This case is being brought up against Trump on whimsical circumstance that someone staying at a property owned by Trump’s company in another country could constitute a foreign gift. It is highly unlikely that such a thing was intended when the law was written to cover a trivial business transaction of a small sum. It was more likely the heart of the law to cover situations like “pay to play” which Hillary engaged in while in office.
During Trump’s first press conference of the year he mentioned that he was yielding all control of his business over to other people to control, and they would not be allowed to discuss business dealings with him at all. It was also stated that an ethics adviser would review new business deals before any were approved to prevent any conflict of interests. Additionally, they will not be doing any foreign business deals.
Trump’s tax returns could be hiding something, but even if there is nothing to hide rest assured that Hillary’s allies will make a big deal out of any un-dotted ‘i’ and un-crossed ‘t’ in his tax return.