the national interest

Republicans Defend and Cover Up Trump’s Tax Fraud

President Trump and House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady. Photo: Zach Gibson/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Trump has flouted decades of precedent by refusing to release his tax returns. One possible reason for this is that they might reveal his foundational myth as a self-made man as a lie, and that his main business was receiving payments from Daddy through what the Times calls “outright fraud.” The emerging Republican line on these revelations is that Trump did nothing wrong and no further investigation is warranted.

Asked about the New York Times report, senator and barometer of party opinion Marco Rubio told CNN’s Marita Vlachou, “I think it’s a testament to how crazy and complicated the tax code is in general.” The tax code is complex, but the Times was not revealing that Trump or his family were confused about the law. They deliberately crafted a series of ruses, including shell companies that would pad expenses and funnel the profits from father Fred to son Donald.

Yes, the tax code is complicated, but Trump was deliberately violating some relatively simple instructions. His crooked tax schemes are not a testament to the complexity of the tax code any more than Hannibal Lecter is a testament to the complexity of exactly which kinds of meat can be consumed under the kosher laws.

Democrats have been saying for months that, if they win a chamber of Congress, they will subpoena the tax returns under a 1924 law which allows them to do it. Kevin Brady, chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, warns that if Trump’s tax returns are released, anybody’s returns can be:

Yes, YOUR returns might be next, assuming “you” are the presidential nominee of a major party and/or had your manifestly illegal tax fraud described in 8,000 word detail in the newspaper of record.

Brady claims to be concerned not on behalf of Trump but on behalf of the non-crook, non-sitting-president public, who might all suddenly find their tax returns subpoenaed by Congress if Trump’s are. He does not explain how the abuses he warns of have failed to materialize in the 94 years since the law authorizing these disclosures has been on the books.

Rubio and Brady helpfully clarify the issue in the midterm elections. Republican control means Trump’s rampant corruption will have a willing partner in Congress.

Republicans Defend and Cover Up Trump’s Tax Fraud