The Barr-Coverup for Donald Trump continues …This time relying on the most laughable of reasons:
1) Chairman Neal didn’t use the ‘right’ magic words in his request to the IRS … (enough times).
2) Even though he did ask for documents showing “extent” the IRS “audits and enforces the Federal tax laws against a President” (the right magic words) — Neal made the ‘Bill Barr mistake’ of asking for other Tax documents too, not having to do with the IRS procedures vis-a-viz a sitting president.
3) Requesting 6 years of returns, flies in the face of Bill Barr rules 1 and 2.
Do not pass Goal. Do not collect Trump’s Tax Returns. Here’s some of the tortured rationale Trump’s Roy Barr dropped on the Congress.
[some key Barr snippets, for his twisted conclusion; emphasis added:]
Congressional Committee’s Request for the President’s Tax Returns Under 26 U.S.C. § 6103(f)
June 13, 2019
MEMORANDUM OPINION FOR THE GENERAL COUNSEL
DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY
To sum up, throughout 2017 and 2018, Chairman Neal and other Members of Congress made clear their intent to acquire and release the President’s tax returns. They offered many different justifications for such an action, suggesting that releasing the returns would “honor tradition,” show “what the Russians have on Donald Trump,” reveal a potential “Chinese connection,” inform tax reform legislation, provide the “clearest picture of his financial health,” and expose any alleged emoluments received from foreign governments. But oversight of “the extent to which the IRS audits and enforces the Federal tax laws against a President” had never been the focus of their demands.
According to Chairman Neal, the Committee requested President Trump’s tax information to “consider legislative proposals and conduct oversight related to our Federal laws, including, but not limited to, the extent to which the IRS audits and enforces the Federal tax laws against a President.” April 3 Neal Letter at 1. To achieve that purpose, he reasoned, “[i]t is necessary for the Committee to determine the scope of any such examination and whether it includes a review of underlying business activities required to be reported on the individual income tax return.”Id. The Committee therefore claimed to be interested in the IRS’s conduct of audit policy, not the President’s underlying business affairs. But the Committee had requested the individual returns of Donald J. Trump and those of eight associated business entities for the past six years (2013 through 2018); information related to audits of any of those returns; and all administrative files for those returns.Id. at 1–2. Although a review by the Committee of the IRS’s performance of its duties would appear, on its face, to be an example of routine oversight, see Watkins, 354 U.S. at 187, we agree with the Secretary that the Committee’s request does not objectively “fit” this stated purpose. […]
While the Committee requested the “administrative files” accompanying the President’s tax returns, which would include audit-related information, Chairman Neal’s press release mentioned only the President’s tax returns in its title (“Neal Statement on Requesting President Trump’s Tax Returns”), mentioned the returns three additional times in its text, and never addressed the other documents. See supra note 22. The Committee’s lack of interest in the IRS’s audit policies and procedures, or in the audits themselves, speaks volumes. Second, the Committee requested six years of the President’s tax returns, but only the last two years correspond to his time in office. Chairman Neal was candid in stating that he would have gone back even further, but he believed such a judgment would be hard to defend in court. According to Chairman Neal, “[t]he six-year decision was reached because the IRS advises you should retain six years of your tax records. . . .
Like Icarus and his wax wings, Chairman Neal flew far too close to the Sun, too quickly, with too much comprehensive Oversight intent. No Tax Returns for you, Ichy!
I’m wondering if this doubling-talking denial, is actually based on the letter and intent of the 1924 Law, that gave the Commerce Chair the authority, to demand the Tax Returns of any American Citizen, including the president?
Or is Trump’s new Roy Cohn simply making this stuff up, out of whole cloth, as he goes.
Anyone having any insight on the intent of the original Law, please chime-in in the comments. Thanks.
My take on that 1924 link (above), is that the Law was all about Investigating scandals (Teapot Dome) — and nothing to do with IRS audits and enforcement procedures.
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