You might have heard the Bloomberg News report that Robert Mueller’s investigation had subpoenaed President Trump’s bank records relating to a $300 million loan from Germany’s Deutsche Bank. It was seen by many as a disturbing sign that Mueller had expanded his investigation far beyond its boundaries of looking into alleged Russian collusion in the election. But apparently, it was just more fake news. Trump’s attorneys say they confirmed with the bank that no such subpoena had been issued.
But once again, a fake news report set Trump haters into premature fits of glee because they’ve long wanted to dig into all of his tax and financial records, hunting for something, anything, to impeach him over. Frankly, that tells you more about them than it does about Trump. Not only that they are desperate and willing to invade a public figure’s privacy if it can possibly result in a “gotcha,” but also that they have a childlike lack of understanding of taxes and financial records at the level of someone like Donald Trump.
Do they actually think that if they could only read his business loan contracts (in German!) and tax forms, they’d find line items listing “bribes from Vladimir Putin” or “shady loans made to Russian spies”? Can you deduct stuff like that on the 1040 EZ form, or do you have to itemize? It’s not like getting H&R Block to file for your refund from your salary at Starbucks. Trump’s tax forms must be thicker than the New York phone book. And news flash: he isn’t “hiding” anything in his tax forms because he doesn’t fill them out himself. They’re made out by a platoon of lawyers and accountants. I wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t even sign them personally.
Still, tax forms are so complicated that if someone with ill intent hunts through your taxes long enough, he’ll find something, no matter how honest you’ve tried to be. I made that mistake once, releasing my taxes during a campaign when I was confident I had nothing to hide. My opponent pulled something out of context and attacked me anyway. That’s why I encourage all candidates to resist the pressure to release their tax forms. Everything the public needs to know is on the required financial disclosure forms, and in much clearer language. If you think there simply must be something nefarious hidden in their labyrinthine tax forms, then guess what? That’s an argument for reforming the tax code.
I’ll make Trump’s opponents a deal. If they’d like to join me in demanding that we replace our insane tax code with the Fair Tax, then I promise right now to release my entire tax form: the whole postcard.
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