News & Politics

Why Are Democrats so Obsessed with Trump's Tax Returns?

President Donald Trump pauses during a signing event for "Space Policy Directive 4" in the Oval Office of the White House, Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

Democrats demanding six years of Donald Trump’s personal and business tax returns are acting like Captain Queeg obsessing about the “missing” strawberries. In the film The Caine Mutiny, Queeg knew full well that there were no “missing” strawberries, He had been told they were eaten by the cook. That didn’t matter as Queeg searched the ship from stem to stern in his futile quest.

Democrats know there’s nothing earth-shaking in Trump’s tax returns but they want them anyway. What exactly do they hope to find?

As a rich, successful man, no doubt Trump cuts some corners and takes questionable deductions. So what? No one ever got rich in America paying every dime of their taxes. Besides, there are so many gray areas and rules with multiple interpretations in the tax code that any modestly informed accountant can legally save a client millions of dollars.

For his part, Trump is digging in, telling his enemies he will fight their request all the way to the Supreme Court.


President Donald Trump continues to hold his ground against Democratic efforts to obtain his tax returns, with one administration official telling CNN that the President and his team are willing to fight the House Democratic request all the way to the Supreme Court.

“This is a hill and people would be willing to die on it,” the official said.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal formally requested six years of Trump’s personal tax returns from the Internal Revenue Service in a letter Wednesday.

The official added that the administration is “not going to set the precedent” of turning over tax returns for future occupants of the Oval Office, slamming the House Democrat request from Neal as “abuse and overreach by Congress” and asked what’s stopping Senate Republicans from seeking House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s returns.

“They have zero right to it,” the official said, who added Trump has also made it clear he’s not releasing his tax returns.

The President’s private outside lawyers are preparing to send a letter to the IRS chief counsel’s office responding to the request, according to a source familiar with the matter.

The source said the lawyers’ letter will raise a number of “significant constitutional and statutory issues.”

Democrats are using an obscure law that allows the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee to demand the IRS furnish anyone’s tax returns. But don’t you have to have a reason to so egregiously violate someone’s privacy? Democrats want Trump’s tax returns for the sole and exclusive purpose of finding something to embarrass him with. In other words, this is a political maneuver — a fishing expedition not designed to uncover criminal wrongdoing but to score political points against a sitting president.

The president surely is not above the law. But neither can the law be abused for partisan political purposes. Trump should be treated as any other taxpayer — no better and no worse. He should have the same rights to privacy as you and me.

Democrats would do well not to set a precedent that would come back and bite them later.