Of course Trump is a tax cheat

You know, sometimes I mean to write a post, and then forget, and then think, “Well, gee, is this still relevant?  Haven’t we moved beyond this?”  Of course, that makes me just as guilty as the media bias I was writing about yesterday.  With a virtual tidal wave of awfulness from Trump, really problematic news from the previous week can really seem like ancient history.

I was about to just move this excellent Catherine Rampell column on Trump’s likely tax fraud over to the quick hits queue, but then thought, damn it, a little old or not, this is good stuff more people should read:

There’s plenty of precedent for prosecuting those. And the Cohen filings this week raise serious new questions about whether Trump has criminal tax-fraud exposure.

To be clear, we don’t know whether Trump has violated any tax laws. But there’s a red flag in prosecutors’ filings against Cohen regarding the fate of hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes one would expect to have been paid Uncle Sam.

It’s a little technical, so bear with me.

[Or, just trust her, I’m not pasting it all, but it’s solid]

“These are not normal business practices,” said Jenny L. Johnson Ware, a criminal tax lawyer. “None of this is how a company normally does business.” Other tax practitioners I consulted said the same.

Why go through all this rigmarole? Well, maybe to hide something.

Maybe Trump Organization execs were helping hide an excessive campaign contribution, one of the charges Cohen pleaded guilty to. Or maybe, as current Trump lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani has argued, it was merely a payment for a personal legal settlement designed to “save” the “reputation” of Trump’s marriage.

Under neither explanation, though, would the $420,000 be a legitimate business expense that Trump or his company could deduct on their tax returns.

And yet: “The reason to go through the shenanigans of making this transaction look like legal expenses, to me, is to make something not deductible look deductible,” said Johnson Ware…

There’s an easy way for Trump to clear up these concerns: He could release his tax returns.

Or maybe Congress could help a brother out and release his returns for him — which it could do by majority vote in any of three committees.

That would, of course, require a Republican or two to “flip” — which I know could pose a problem. As Trump and Capone could both tell you, the family doesn’t care for rats.

Honestly, given everything that is already public knowledge about Trump and how he runs his business, it would be pretty shocking if he were somehow not actually guilty of criminal tax fraud (like Al Capone!).  Collusion or not, Trump is so obviously a criminal.  And, presumably, Mueller is on that case.

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About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

One Response to Of course Trump is a tax cheat

  1. R. Jenrette says:

    What prosecutor could ignore the obvious money laundering?
    If the IRS has the financial resources, I suggest looking into anyone or any company that has multiple LLCs. We could probably come close to paying off the national debt if Uncle Sam had all the money legally owed to him.
    We have made tax cheating the norm in the wealthy classes, it seems.

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