I’ve been beating the drum about the failure of Democratic Rep. Richard Neal who is in a unique position to obtain Trump’s tax returns, yet inexplicably, is failing to do so. Others seem to be joining the chorus (boldface mine):
The announcement two weeks ago that Neal would finally request Trump’s tax returns, after a good deal of pressure from the Democratic Caucus, might have appeared to be a welcome reversal. But look at the fine print and you’ll see that the committee’s strategy is basiclly a continuation of Neal’s obstinate refusal to deliver on Democrats’ 2018 campaign promises.
That is because Neal plans to disregard tax law experts and request only the president’s personal returns.
Neal’s lame excuse is that business returns for Trump’s over 500 Limited Liability Corporations (LLCs) are too complex. Neal is right that understanding Trump’s finances will be unjustifiably arduous, but as one of the few people in the country with the power to gather the resources and expertise to conquer this task, surrender in the face of this complexity is a cowardly dereliction of duty.
Trump’s personal tax returns will show how much money he is earning from each of his LLCs, but not how the LLCs came to possess that money or what machinations the funds may have gone through before reaching the President. Without this information, we will make little headway in learning specifics about Trump’s conflicts of interest, including international entanglements and alleged tax evasion.
Failing to request the business returns not only compromises Congressional investigations into this president, but also the Committee’s potential oversight of society’s wealthiest tax cheats. Neal reportedly likes to boast of his committee’s historical significance, and yet he is failing to seize his opportunity to be a part of that vaunted history by reforming the corrupt system that created the likes of Donald Trump and those surrounding him.
Because, despite claims of members of the ‘Resistance’, not all Democrats are alike:
Looking back over Neal’s 30 unremarkable years in Congress, it appears that he has long been more concerned with rising through the ranks than actually accomplishing anything. For three decades Neal has quietly waited his turn, neither making waves nor attracting national scrutiny. Unfortunately, Democrats’ deference to seniority in committee chair assignments can allow a low energy, risk-averse politician to rise to power, even as it can also yield activist Chairs like Representative Maxine Waters of the House Financial Services Committee…
Only a fraction of his contributions (2.1 percent in 2012 and 0.73 percent in 2018) came from small dollar donors.
This paints a picture not of a deeply popular politician with a committed base, but of one whose corporate fundraising prowess successfully suppresses challengers. This is a shame, because Trump’s tax practices cry out for a serious investigation.
Returning to Trump’s tax returns, including the LLCs, they likely will not be that One Neat Trick That DESTROYS! Trump. But look at the trouble a few good questions by Ocasio-Cortez during a public hearing caused Trump. The NY Times discovered–unfortunately past the statute of limitations–a whole bunch of shady crap simply by getting his decades old New York state tax returns.
If Democrats were serious in 2018 about Trump being an existential threat to democracy (he certainly hasn’t been good for democracy), then this letter should have been ready to go the moment Democrats officially took over the House. Instead, it will take additional months and it apparently will be done half assed. It’s not like there’s a shortage of Democratic-aligned lawyers in the D.C. Metro area who could help write the damn letter. We deserve better. More importantly, we need better.
Maybe it’s time to start protesting against Democrats.
And if people wonder why those who used to be called liberal Democrats don’t trust the Democratic leadership or its professional class, failures like this are one reason why. They won’t protect us when we need them to; in fact, we often save them from their own stupid selves. As long as it was largely up to rank-and-file Democrats organizing, marching, protesting, and voting, we were fine. Unfortunately, much of what will happen nexthinges on a few Democratic politicians, and I’m afraid they’re not up to the task.