Paul L. Caron

Friday, July 10, 2020

Perspectives On The Supreme Court's Trump Tax Return Decision

FiveThirtyEight, We’re Not Going To See Trump’s Tax Returns Anytime Soon:

President Trump is one of the only presidents in modern memory who has kept his tax returns private, and attempts to force their release have sparked a mountain of litigation, reaching all the way to the Supreme Court.

But the Supreme Court’s verdict on whether Trump’s banks and accounting firm can be required to release his personal financial records is a bit of a mixed bag.

On the one hand, the court delivered Trump a major defeat, dismissing his most expansive claims to presidential immunity. Trump has argued that while in the White House, he can’t be criminally investigated. But the court ruled in a 7-2 decision written by Chief Justice John Roberts that New York prosecutors do have the authority to subpoena his business records, sending the case back to the lower court.

But in the second ruling on Trump’s tax returns — which was also a 7-2 decision written by Roberts — which involved three House committees’ subpoenas for his records, the court essentially punted. The justices emphasized the House does have the authority to issue subpoenas related to oversight of the executive branch, but they said lower court judges didn’t properly weigh the separation of powers issues inherent in the requests — suggesting that Congress’s power to investigate the president is not unlimited. The ruling also sent that case back to the lower courts for further consideration.

That means Trump’s much-sought-after tax returns will almost certainly remain under wraps until after the election in November.

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If we are getting each candidates tax returns, can we also get copies of all their paid speeches and mental health evaluations too.

Posted by: Chris | Jul 10, 2020 2:15:11 PM

If I were Trump, I'd demand to see Hunter Biden's tax returns.

Posted by: Dale Spradling | Jul 11, 2020 7:59:51 AM

The court seems to have made the President subject to state harrassment by prosecutors of the opposing party, in one case. I hope that boomerang hits President Biden, and his VP, next year.

Good to see it didn't green light Congressional fishing expeditions, though. On tax returns, which would no doubt leak immediately (a FELONY), there are federal confidentiality laws for a reason.

Posted by: MM | Jul 11, 2020 5:37:31 PM


Speaking of presidential candidates' children, have Don Jr., Ivanka, and Eric finished their court-ordered training on how not to defraud charities yet? And of course that's just the tip of the iceberg of Trump's progeny's conflicts of interest and financial self-interest tied up with daddy's administration.

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Jul 12, 2020 12:30:40 PM

The Court's suggestion that Congress's oversight responsibilities are limited when it comes to POTUS is regrettable--both for this Congress and president and for the future. Without the ability to review tax returns for potential conflicts and other issues, Congress's oversight and the separation of powers are called into question, since a POTUS may operate criminally behind the wall of nondisclosure. Congress should pass a law requiring all presidential candidates to disclose the last 10 years of federal tax returns to the public upon entering the race and every year thereafter when they are in office or continue pursuing the nomination.

Posted by: TaxGal | Jul 12, 2020 1:54:03 PM

UT: "Speaking of presidential candidates' children..."

So you're calling for state prosecutors in red states to go on fishing expeditions against President Biden, his son Hunter, his whole family, and their business interests, correct?

Gotta be consistent, otherwise the troll label is perfect...

Posted by: MM | Jul 12, 2020 6:14:52 PM

@TaxGal: This might be a good idea. We should start with professors, as an initial step. Like I’d want to know if you’re getting money from shadowy groups, or money from the textbook you co-authored and assigned for class, etc, which may elucidate why or why not you’re preaching Marxism to impressionable pupils.

Posted by: Anon | Jul 12, 2020 9:01:49 PM

I see no mention in the comments of the fact that Trump long ago promised to release his tax returns when the IRS audits were complete. Rudy Giuliani said today that in fact the audits are complete (aside from the fact that he could release them w/o the audits being complete anyway).

Will any of this make a difference? Of course not. Trump lies pretty much every time he opens his mouth, and he's lying about his tax returns too. He'll never make them public, and never intended to.

Posted by: Gerald Scorse | Jul 13, 2020 7:27:03 AM

Gosh MM, is Hunter Biden running Biden Inc. at the same time Biden is president? Nope. But God forbid we acknowledge the extraordinary conflicts of interest between Trump, Trump Inc., the Trump children running Trump Inc., the Trump children installed in senior adviser roles in the government, and the millions and millions of dollars flowing from the government to Trump Inc. as outlined in various governmental reports and investigations.

And you didn't answer my question: have the Trump children finished their court-ordered training on how not to defraud charities?

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Jul 14, 2020 11:20:55 AM

Gerald: "Will any of this make a difference? Of course not."

So why complain?

Posted by: MM | Jul 14, 2020 7:45:12 PM

"is Hunter Biden running Biden Inc."

You must be referring to the Biden family influence peddling enterprise, which has been going on for decades. And yes, Hunter has been intimitately involved in those foreign influence peddling investment schemes.

I have no idea about Trump's children and their court-ordered training. Honestly don't care. I've yet to see any evidence, though, that they've ever engaged in influence peddling. Like serving on the boards of foreign companies and getting wealthy while their father is Vice President of the U.S. and conducting foreign policy.

Posted by: MM | Jul 15, 2020 6:39:57 PM