Democrats: Should Trump be forced to release his tax returns

By Charlie Jackvony

Time and time again, President Trump has broken with tradition set by predecessors. Among these traditions is the public release of candidates’ tax returns while running for president. In fact, every major-party nominee since 1976, bar Gerald Ford, has publicly released their tax returns. As President Trump refused to release his tax returns, claiming he is unable to do so as he is “under audit” by the IRS (which is questionable and possibly moot reasoning), House Democrats have expressed their intent to subpoena the President’s returns. However, this intent leaves three questions:
 
Can they subpoena the president’s tax returns? Under 26 USC § 6103, the House Committee on Ways and Means — the committee responsible for taxes and tax policy — has the authority to subpoena an individual’s tax returns. Yes, this includes the tax returns of the President of the United States.
 
Can they publicize the returns once subpoenaed? According to the same statute, any return may be submitted to the full Congress. Once in the hands of 535 lawmakers, it would be quite hard to stop the returns from reaching the public. Should they subpoena the returns? Yes. With the looming Special Counsel investigative report hopefully to be released in full, transparency in our government is more crucial now than at any time before in our history.
 
Will there be an itemized line in the President’s returns that states “Russian Collusion”? Of course not. However, the acquisition of such returns may aid the investigation into Trump, or, if he is truly as innocent as he claims, his exoneration.