A baseline standard of transparency

Norm Eisen told Greg Sargent at the Washington Post that the Republicans in Congress can demand to see Trump’s tax returns.

“The tax committees of Congress have the legal right to demand from the IRS, to examine, and to share tax returns if a proper public purpose is met,” Eisen said.

Democrats have also zeroed in on this point. Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, has repeatedly pressed the committee’s GOP chairman, Sen. Orrin G. Hatch of Utah, to use his authority to secure an opportunity for committee members to privately view Trump’s tax returns. Hatch refused, citing limitations on his own authority to do this that Democrats say is bogus. Republicans have blocked other measures designed to access the tax returns.

The important point here is that broadly speaking, most Republicans are inclined against taking whatever steps are necessary to deepen their own (not to mention the public’s) understanding of the Russia affair. There are other measures Republicans could take to try to force access to the tax returns, either through legislation or simply by issuing more forceful calls on him to release them. Again: All we are talking about here is a baseline standard of transparency, one that Republican and Democratic presidential candidates have held themselves to for decades, because they recognized that the American people have a right to this transparency from their public officials, a right Trump does not recognize — and one congressional Republicans are now shrugging off.

They shouldn’t be doing that. It’s immoral and sleazy. We don’t need to know about Trump’s interests because of prurient curiosity, we need to know so that we can tell what his interests are and thus how he might sell out our interests to further his own.

One Response to “A baseline standard of transparency”