Kevin Brady: Releasing Trump's Taxes Means We Could See Supreme Court Taxes Too. Oh ... No!

The House Ways and Means Committee voted Tuesday to release Donald Trump's tax returns to the public, covering the time he ran for president and the four years he resided in the White House. CNBC explains that will

take “a few days” to remove some sensitive information before the release of Trump’s returns and those of eight affiliated Trump businesses, said Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass, the committee’s chairman.

“But we believe that it’s only days,” Neal said.

The records set for release include the notes of IRS audits of the returns.

The 24 to 16 vote to release the tax returns was along party lines, as Republicans all voted to protect the Great Man — and you too, John or Jane Q Citizen, because they care!

You see, prior to the committee debate and vote, Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) its ranking Republican, offered a dire warning: If Democrats release Donald Trump's taxes, that means they might release yours, or mine, or golly, anyone's! Here's video:

Brady warned that

Our concern is that, if taken, this committee action will set a terrible precedent that unleashes a dangerous new political weapon that reaches far beyond the former president and overturns decades of privacy protections for average Americans that have existed since the Watergate reforms. [...]

Going forward, the majority chairmen of the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee will have nearly unlimited power to target and make public the tax returns of private citizens. And not just private citizens: political enemies, business and labor leaders, or even the returns of Supreme Court justices themselves.

With Republicans taking control of the House in January, that sounds like a threat in the classic Republican style: Don't you make us do something horrible, you mean Democrats. The Texas Tribune reports that Brady also made a motion during the committee's debate to "make a transcript of the meeting public so voters could identify any members who wanted to make the records public," but that appears not to have scared anyone, since the committee voted unanimously to release a transcript.

So yeah, get ready for the next GOP chair of the Ways and Means chair to request that the Treasury Department turn over the tax returns of every Democrat who voted to release Trump's taxes. (It won't be Brady, since he's retiring.) And then we'll probably have a year and a half of hearings on Richard Neal's deductions.

As for Brady's warning that the committee's vote might result in the release of just about anyone's taxes, we're with civil rights attorney Scott Hechinger, who tweeted yesterday, "I’d like to see the tax returns of Supreme Court Justices." Let's even pass a law requiring top officials of the federal government to release their taxes. Or at the very least, let's require it for all presidential candidates, or for sitting presidents, as Neal and other Democrats have called for.

Should all of us ordinary citizens worry that our taxes will be released by out of control Democrats? Seems unlikely, unless some of us private citizens run for president and then spend four years as president falsely insisting that we can't release our taxes because they're under audit.

There's actually no law against releasing returns that are being audited. Richard Nixon's taxes were under audit when he released his returns in 1973, explaining that Americans needed to be able to be certain their president isn't a crook. Which Nixon famously explained he was not, and see, here are his taxes to prove it. (A subsequent audit showed Nixon was actually short about a half-million bucks, but he promised to repay it.)

But even if our tax returns were released, we're betting that the most likely outcome would be that we'd all compare notes on the crazy amounts of interest we paid on our student loans each year. That's just nuts.

[Texas Tribune / CNBC / Newsweek]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.


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