The New York Times published a lengthy investigative report on Tuesday accusing President Donald Trump of participating in “dubious tax schemes during the 1990s, including instances of outright fraud.” Despite his many 2016 campaign promises to eventually release his tax returns, he refuses to do so, and the public is still in the dark about his personal finances. Now, thanks to a vote last month by the 21 Republican members of the House Ways and Means Committee, those tax returns are unlikely to come to light in the foreseeable future. Those Republicans voted to keep the president’s tax returns hidden.
Relying on a “vast trove of confidential tax returns and financial records,” the Times determined that Trump “helped his parents dodge taxes,” established with his siblings a “sham corporation to disguise millions of dollars in gifts from their parents,” assisted their father in taking “improper tax deductions worth millions more,” and formulated a “strategy to undervalue his parents’ real estate holdings by hundreds of millions of dollars on tax returns, sharply reducing the tax bill when those properties were transferred to him and his siblings.”
A Trump lawyer claimed these “allegations of fraud and tax evasion are 100 percent false, and highly defamatory,” but the president didn’t deny them. In a tweet, he repeated his standard and false claim that the paper is “failing” and described their story as “a very old, boring and often told hit piece.”
The Failing New York Times did something I have never seen done before. They used the concept of “time value of money” in doing a very old, boring and often told hit piece on me. Added up, this means that 97% of their stories on me are bad. Never recovered from bad election call!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 3, 2018
But in order for the public to really evaluate whether the president of the United States is himself a tax cheat, the public would need to see his tax returns. Unlike other presidents and presidential nominees, Trump has stubbornly refused to do so. He’s alternately promised to do so after a long-running “routine audit” is complete, suggesting he might do so after he leaves office; and indicating through his Treasury Secretary that he doesn’t intend to release them at all.
Last month, as the House Ways and Means Committee considered a bill to make Trump’s tax cuts for corporations and the very rich permanent, Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) offered an amendment to make the bill contingent upon Trump’s tax returns being disclosed. On a party-line vote, the amendment was killed 21 to 15.
The 21 members voting to shield the president from that transparency were Reps. Mike Bishop (R-MI), Diane Black (R-TN), Kevin Brady (R-TX), Vern Buchanan (R-FL), Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), Lynn Jenkins (R-KS), Sam Johnson (R-TX), Mike Kelly (R-PA), Darin Lahood (R-IL), Kenny Marchant (R-TX), Kristi Noem (R-SD), Devin Nunes (R-CA), Erik Paulsen (R-MN), Tom Reed (R-NY), Dave Reichert (R-WA), Peter Roskam (R-IL), David Schweikert (R-AZ), Adrian Smith (R-NE), Jason Smith (R-MO), Jackie Walorski (R-IN), and Brad Wenstrup (R-OH).
ThinkProgress reached out to each of these Representatives to ask whether they had any second thoughts in light of the New York Times story. None have responded with comment.
Asked on Wednesday whether Trump would release any of his tax returns, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that the administration does not “have any plans to do so.”