By Dr. Sherman Jackson
How transparent is Donald Trump?
He has refused to release his tax returns because he says is being audited. Yet, he has not produced any documents to certify that he is being audited. A letter from his attorney is not enough proof that he is being audited. We are very mindful that some attorneys will do and put anything into writing necessary to help a client. If Trump really wants to be transparent to his supporters and opponents, then he should do the right thing by releasing his tax returns.
Instead, he is hiding behind the façade of a tax audit, real or imaginary. His running mate, Mike Pence, has released his tax returns, so have Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine. Where is the proof, Donald, that you are being audited? Show us documents from the Internal Revenue that you are indeed being audited. Since you have lied so many times about so many different issues, show us the proof that you are being audited.
During the Republican primaries, Mitt Romney, former Republican presidential candidate, said voters have a right to be concerned about the refusal of Trump to release his tax returns because there “might be a bombshell hiding “in those tax returns. Trump has often said what he will work to change the direction of the government. What if there are bombshells in those returns? What if, should Trump be elected to the presidency, there are foreign connections in those returns that would constitute a conflict of interest or would compromise America’s national defense? Does he think the presidency will protect him?
Such conflicting issues would be grounds for impeachment. Any attempt to remove from office a newly elected president would be more disruptive than what we have witnessed in this tempestuous 2016 presidential contest.
In a recent CNN Money report by Chris Isidore and Jeanne Sahadi: Trump is quoted as saying: releasing his tax returns would compromise his position to negotiate with the IRS.” You are in the midst of negotiating and talking to the IRS. Your lawyers would never allow you to do that.” The reporters contacted former IRS attorney , Dennis Brager who disagreed with Trump’s argument: “The chances of (a public release) creating a problem for the audit are negligible. Not none, but negligible.”
It is clear that Trump is afraid to release his returns because there are indeed “bombshells”. What are these bombshells and should we the people have a right to know? Since Trump is no stranger to legal actions, perhaps it is time for the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to file a lawsuit challenging Trump to release his tax returns since this would not compromise his negotiating position with the IRS.
If that challenge is not met by the DNC, then it is the right of the American people to launch legal action against the refusal by Trump to release his tax returns. Eighty percent of federal taxes come from individual taxes. The people have right to know what Trump is hiding in those tax returns. Perhaps it is nothing. Then again those tax returns could contain major bombshells.
The American people have a right to know if the person they are electing to the presidency is honest or a crook.
Just as Trump and his supporters demanded that a constitutionally elected President, Barrack Obama, release his long form birth certificate as proof that he was indeed American born, those who question the legitimacy of Trump’s tax auditing should demand positive proof.
Once Trump has released his tax returns, then he can truly say “I did America a favor.”
Sherman Jackson, Phd, American Constitutional History and Law, Miami University, Professor Emeritus, email@example.com