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Wed May 8, 2019, 08:31 AM

Trump and Mnuchin Break the Law By Refusing to Release President's Tax Records

May 8, 2019

White collar criminologist Bill Black explains how the administration's stance on Trump'í taxes is illegal and what the possible consequences could beóor should be

MARC STEINER Welcome to The Real News Network. Iím Marc Steiner. Great to have you all with us. So here we go. Congress wants Trumpís tax returns. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal requested them all, or six specific things, but then Trumpís Secretary of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin, sent this letter in response. As heís saying, no deal. Youíre not going to get that from the IRS. The IRS, of course, now being run by Charles Rettig, who is one of the nationís leading attorneys for people some people might call ďtax cheats,Ē will not turn over Trumpís tax returns, writing that the committeeís request is unprecedented, is constitutionally questionable, and may have lasting negative effects for taxpayers countrywide. Yet, the 1924 Anti-Corruption Act says that Congress can ask for anyoneís tax returns at any time. Now this may go immediately to the Supreme Court or wind its way up to the Supreme Court. We donít know what that means, so what gives here? Well our guest, who has been a financial regulator and is a Professor of Economics and Law at the University of Missouri- Kansas City, should know something about all this and can shed some light. Of course, weíre talking about Bill Black. Good to have you with us, Bill. Welcome back.

BILL BLACK Thank you.

MARC STEINER I should also say the title of his book because I love the title of this book, The Best Way To Rob A Bank Is To Own One. That is one of the best titles in American history, I think. So let me just start with this. So both the chairman of the committee in trying to get some tax returns from Trump, and Secretary Mnuchin, talk about Section 6103óboth using that as a defense why they should get the tax returns legally and the secretary saying, no you shouldnít have these tax returns because this is politicized, and you donít have a legitimate reason. So what is this Section 6103, and what does it mean?

BILL BLACK Well, it means that Democrats win, is the short answer. I was also litigation director of a major federal agency, you know, and Iím a law prof as well. So, what it says in the statute is whileóit isnít all of Congress that can request. Itís the key committee chairs in the House and the Senate. This is the appropriate one in the House. So this is one of the consequences of the Democrats getting control of the House, that theyíre now in a position to make this request. And while the word Iím using is request, the statute is mandatory, itís not discretionary. It says when you receive this request, you shall provide those documents to the committee chair. So the Democrats have a clean winner. Whatís the origins of the statute? The origins of the statute are in the Teapot Dome Scandal. And so, in history there used to be a debate about the most corrupt administration in the United States, whether it was the Grant administration or the Harding administration.


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