Trump tax re­turns a Dem dis­trac­tion

Boston Herald - - HERALD OPINION -

It is no se­cret that the Democrats have not got­ten over the 2016 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion. On that Novem­ber day, the #Re­sis­tance move­ment started and it has kept right on go­ing, des­per­ately try­ing to undo what was done: the pres­i­dency of Don­ald Trump.

Now that they en­joy a ma­jor­ity in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, Democrats have at their dis­posal a slew of tools to use in or­der to ha­rangue and ha­rass the pres­i­dent with the ul­ti­mate hope that they can un­earth some ev­i­dence of criminality some­where. Any­where.

And so it is that Mas­sachusetts Demo­cratic Rep. Richard Neal, the head of the House Ways and Means Com­mit­tee, is lead­ing the charge to get his hands on Pres­i­dent Trump’s tax re­turns. Neal will go ahead with ma­neu­vers that will put into play a big le­gal bat­tle with Team Trump, which will claim a right to pri­vacy on the is­sue and ac­cuse Dems of launch­ing a po­lit­i­cal with hunt.

As The As­so­ci­ated Press re­ported, bat­tle lines have been drawn. “In re­al­ity, this is all about weaponiz­ing our tax laws to at­tack a po­lit­i­cal foe,” Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) said at the hear­ing by the Ways and Means over­sight sub­com­mit­tee.

“A strong case is be­ing built,” Wil­liam Trangh­ese, an aide to Neal, told the AP this week. He said Neal is con­sult­ing with lawyers for the House “to de­ter­mine the ap­pro­pri­ate le­gal steps to go for­ward with this un­prece­dented re­quest.”

Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), chair­man of the over­sight sub­com­mit­tee, said the Amer­i­can pub­lic is in­tensely in­ter­ested in the sub­ject. “We ask the ques­tion: Does the pub­lic have a need to know that a per­son seek­ing or hold­ing the high­est of­fice in our coun­try obeys the tax laws?”

It is true that Trump re­fused to re­lease his tax re­turns dur­ing the cam­paign, which is a rar­ity. There is no doubt that he does not want his re­turns re­leased, whether it is for fear that there is im­pro­pri­ety within the pages or per­haps they will re­veal some­thing em­bar­rass­ing.

It may be cyn­i­cal for a can­di­date to refuse to be fully trans­par­ent but that fact was baked into this par­tic­u­lar nom­i­nee and those who voted for him cared not one bit.

It is also cyn­i­cal for Democrats to em­bark on the most craven po­lit­i­cal course pos­si­ble the mo­ment they gain power.

In ei­ther case, if there is a year in which our pol­i­tics are bet­ter than this, it is not this year. And so here we go again, con­tin­u­ing to try to right the wrongs of Nov. 8, 2016.

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