Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Trump Tax Records Mailed Anonymously to the New York Times

 
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During the primaries, major media didn’t dig too deep into Donald Trump’s questionable business and financial practices because he brought the clicks and gave headaches to establishment GOP figures. But that all changed once he became the Republican standard bearer, and the hits keep getting worse. Late Saturday night, the New York Times published the details about Trump’s 1995 tax returns, information they were mysteriously sent by an anonymous party:

Donald J. Trump declared a $916 million loss on his 1995 income tax returns, a tax deduction so substantial it could have allowed him to legally avoid paying any federal income taxes for up to 18 years, records obtained by The New York Times show.

The 1995 tax records, never before disclosed, reveal the extraordinary tax benefits that Mr. Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, derived from the financial wreckage he left behind in the early 1990s through mismanagement of three Atlantic City casinos, his ill-fated foray into the airline business and his ill-timed purchase of the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan.

Tax experts hired by The Times to analyze Mr. Trump’s 1995 records said that tax rules especially advantageous to wealthy filers would have allowed Mr. Trump to use his $916 million loss to cancel out an equivalent amount of taxable income over an 18-year period.

The NYT contacted Jack Mitnick, a CPA who handled Trump’s taxes in 1995, and he vouched for the documents’ authenticity. The nearly billion-dollar loss gives a plausible explanation for why Trump has refused to release his tax information. However, the forms’ anonymous release raises disturbing questions, not only about Trump’s business acumen and honesty, but about who accessed these private files and released them to the largest newspaper in the US.

An official Trump campaign response didn’t disprove the accuracy of the tax returns, but focused on the media’s treatment of him:

The only news here is that the more than 20-year-old alleged tax document was illegally obtained, a further demonstration that the New York Times, like establishment media in general, is an extension of the Clinton Campaign, the Democratic Party and their global special interests. What is happening now with the FBI and DOJ on Hillary Clinton’s emails and illegal server, including her many lies and her lies to Congress are worse than what took place in the administration of Richard Nixon – and far more illegal.

Mr. Trump is a highly-skilled businessman who has a fiduciary responsibility to his business, his family and his employees to pay no more tax than legally required. That being said, Mr. Trump has paid hundreds of millions of dollars in property taxes, sales and excise taxes, real estate taxes, city taxes, state taxes, employee taxes and federal taxes, along with very substantial charitable contributions. Mr. Trump knows the tax code far better than anyone who has ever run for President and he is the only one that knows how to fix it.

There are 90 comments.

  1. Underground Conservative Coolidge

    Here we go. We all knew it would happen, didn’t we?

    • #1
    • October 1, 2016, at 8:16 PM PST
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  2. The (apathetic) King Prawn Inactive

    Far more illegal? I’ve always thought of legal/illegal as binary rather than existing on a spectrum.

    • #2
    • October 1, 2016, at 8:38 PM PST
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  3. KC Mulville Inactive

    Not that anyone would have predicted this kind of thing …

    • #3
    • October 1, 2016, at 8:44 PM PST
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  4. Tim H. Member

    I’m strongly opposed to Trump, but I don’t see anything scandalous in this, aside from rehashing his business failures twenty years ago (which is fair game). They try to make it sound like there’s something outrageous in the possibility of his counting a business loss against his tax liabilities. That’s standard, isn’t it?

    • #4
    • October 1, 2016, at 8:44 PM PST
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  5. EHerring Coolidge

    A snoozer for me. Who cares. Tax law allows it.

    • #5
    • October 1, 2016, at 8:45 PM PST
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  6. Judge Mental Member

    Tim H.:I’m strongly opposed to Trump, but I don’t see anything scandalous in this, aside from rehashing his business failures twenty years ago (which is fair game). They try to make it sound like there’s something outrageous in the possibility of his counting a business loss against his tax liabilities. That’s standard, isn’t it?

    The scandalous part is that there are laws against this kind of leak, and that we have no reason whatsoever to expect that anyone will be held to account. For one thing, it might raise embarrassing questions on how Barack Obama was elected to the Senate, after both his Democrat primary and Republican general election opponents’ sealed divorce records were leaked.

    • #6
    • October 1, 2016, at 8:48 PM PST
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  7. Tim H. Member

    I’d suggest a change to the Times’ shocker of a lede. It’s not that Trump could have avoided paying taxes, it’s that Trump didn’t OWE any taxes.

    • #7
    • October 1, 2016, at 8:49 PM PST
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  8. Cato Rand Coolidge

    This hardly even seems like news. What did we expect his business bankruptcies to produce if not losses? I mean I guess getting the black and white is worth reporting. But I don’t see that we’ve learned anything we couldn’t have guessed.

    • #8
    • October 1, 2016, at 8:50 PM PST
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  9. Cato Rand Coolidge

    Tim H.:I’m strongly opposed to Trump, but I don’t see anything scandalous in this, aside from rehashing his business failures twenty years ago (which is fair game). They try to make it sound like there’s something outrageous in the possibility of his counting a business loss against his tax liabilities. That’s standard, isn’t it?

    Yea, there are rules about carrying forward losses and every business in the world — to say nothing of ordinary taxpayers who take investment losses — use them. Other than “big number” and “we finally have the details” — I don’t get the big deal.

    They might as well title the article “Trump Commits Tax Reporting”

    And by the way, I’m #NeverTrump too. So it’s not like I’m looking to defend the guy. I just genuinely think this is a big nothing burger. If the NYT and other organs of the loud left are trying to make something of it, they’re trying to pull the wool over uninformed voters’ eyes.

    • #9
    • October 1, 2016, at 8:52 PM PST
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  10. Jon Gabriel, Ed. Chief
    Jon Gabriel, Ed. Post author

    The more complex the tax code, the less the elites pay into the system. (And the more money for high-end CPAs and lawyers.)

    • #10
    • October 1, 2016, at 8:56 PM PST
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  11. Profile Photo Member

    Did Rick Wilson give you a heads up before he gave this to the Times?

    • #11
    • October 1, 2016, at 8:57 PM PST
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  12. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge

    This is the problem with Trumps non disclosure of his taxes. Instead of him releasing them and spinning them his way they will now be released and with the HRC spin. Since this has recently been mentioned by Harry Reid, Hillary Clinton and other Democrats it is pretty obvious this was set up. Expect a full frontal assault on this over the next few days.

    i assume that the FBI or other government agency will investigate this crime and most likely not find anybody. Even if they did find somebody there will be no intent. I suspect that Trump is about to get the full weaponized government treatment with the press cheering it on.

    • #12
    • October 1, 2016, at 8:58 PM PST
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  13. Cato Rand Coolidge

    Judge Mental:

    Tim H.:I’m strongly opposed to Trump, but I don’t see anything scandalous in this, aside from rehashing his business failures twenty years ago (which is fair game). They try to make it sound like there’s something outrageous in the possibility of his counting a business loss against his tax liabilities. That’s standard, isn’t it?

    The scandalous part is that there are laws against this kind of leak, and that we have no reason whatsoever to expect that anyone will be held to account. For one thing, it might raise embarrassing questions on how Barack Obama was elected to the Senate, after both his Democrat primary and Republican general election opponents’ sealed divorce records were leaked.

    Are there laws against this? Assume for the sake of argument that the sender got the return legally (not at all unlikely for the “King of Debt” — there’ve got to be a million bankers who have his returns). Very likely there’s a contractual obligation not to disclose them — so Trump’s likely to have another lawsuit to pursue if he finds the sender. I’m not an expert in the area, but I’m not positive the disclosure violates any criminal law, so I’m not sure there’s anything for anybody but Trump himself to pursue. Anybody know for sure? I don’t care enough to dig into the IRC to find out.

    • #13
    • October 1, 2016, at 9:01 PM PST
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  14. Judge Mental Member

    Fake John/Jane Galt: i assume that the FBI or other government agency will investigate this crime and most likely not find anybody. Even if they did find somebody there will be no intent. I suspect that Trump is about to get the full weaponized government treatment with the press cheering it on.

    Maybe they could get the same crack team that investigated Hillary on the job.

    There is going to be a very limited number of places this can originate. Who has copies? Trump, the accountant and the IRS. Assume Trump didn’t do it. That leaves, either an accounting firm that probably has lots of other rich clients who would prefer not to have their returns mailed to the NYT, or more government corruption that he can exploit. The accounting firm has a very strong incentive to make sure that none of their employees did it. They will either offer up the offender for arrest, or put it on the IRS.

    If IRS, it’s possible he could come out ahead on this.

    • #14
    • October 1, 2016, at 9:05 PM PST
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  15. Profile Photo Member

    Didn’t Hillary implicate herself in this in the debate? She said he hadn’t paid taxes, then records backing up her claim show up.

    • #15
    • October 1, 2016, at 9:08 PM PST
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  16. Judge Mental Member

    Cato Rand:

    Are there laws against this? Assume for the sake of argument that the sender got the return legally (not at all unlikely for the “King of Debt” — there’ve got to be a million bankers who have his returns). Very likely there’s a contractual obligation not to disclose them — so Trump’s likely to have another lawsuit to pursue if he finds the sender. I’m not an expert in the area, but I’m not positive the disclosure violates any criminal law, so I’m not sure there’s anything for anybody but Trump himself to pursue. Anybody know for sure? I don’t care enough to dig into the IRC to find out.

    I know it’s illegal for the IRS to do it. That’s one of the charges that was never brought in the IRS scandal. For a bank or accounting firm, it’s an extraordinarily bad idea for their business. And maybe illegal, not sure.

    • #16
    • October 1, 2016, at 9:09 PM PST
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  17. Profile Photo Member

    “The New York Times Friday report that Republican Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) and his wife Jeanette have been cited 17 times for traffic violations was written after the citations were pulled by a liberal opposition research firm American Bridge, according to Miami-Dade County records.”

    • #17
    • October 1, 2016, at 9:09 PM PST
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  18. Ned Walton Inactive

    Cato Rand: organs of the loud left

    Mind if I steal that phrase?

    • #18
    • October 1, 2016, at 9:10 PM PST
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  19. Cato Rand Coolidge

    26 CFR 301.7216-1 makes it a misdemeanor for his tax preparer to disclose his returns.

    IRC §6103 makes it a felony for state or federal employees to disclose returns.

    But my quick and dirty research isn’t coming up with a general prohibition — just these sorts of things for people who have some kind of special duty.

    I’ll defer to anyone more expert in the area, but there may well not be a crime here based on anything I’ve found.

    • #19
    • October 1, 2016, at 9:13 PM PST
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  20. Cato Rand Coolidge

    Ned Walton:

    Cato Rand: organs of the loud left

    Mind if I steal that phrase?

    It’s all yours.

    • #20
    • October 1, 2016, at 9:14 PM PST
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  21. KC Mulville Inactive

    Isn’t it telling how we just assume this is a nugget of embarrassment that Clinton has been deliberately holding onto? The cover story that “this just happened” is almost proof of naivete.

    I’m curious why they’re releasing it now. We still have over a month to go. Is it as simple as this being the first of October? The Clintons probably have a laundry list of “oppo” research lined up, and this is just the first of a steady wave. Maybe they’re baiting the narcissist …instead of allowing Trump to launch any attacks at her, they’re tossing out these nuggets because they know that he can’t resist chasing them, real or not. The tactic of baiting him with personal accusations worked in the debate, so maybe it’ll work everywhere.

    If Trump gets bogged down in a Twitter storm, he’ll just prove the strategy works — and everyone will know it, except him.

    • #21
    • October 1, 2016, at 9:16 PM PST
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  22. Cato Rand Coolidge

    Matt White:Didn’t Hillary implicate herself in this in the debate? She said he hadn’t paid taxes, then records backing up her claim show up.

    If she did, she did it the way Clintons do those sorts of things — maintaining plausible deniability.

    • #22
    • October 1, 2016, at 9:17 PM PST
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  23. Cato Rand Coolidge

    KC Mulville:Isn’t it telling how we just assume this is a nugget of embarrassment that Clinton has been deliberately holding onto? The cover story that “this just happened” is almost proof of naivete.

    I’m curious why they’re releasing it now. We still have over a month to go. Is it as simple as this being the first of October? The Clintons probably have a laundry list of “oppo” research lined up, and this is just the first of a steady wave.

    Welcome to politics. The only scandal is that we nominated such a no nothing novice that he’s not prepared to return the favor.

    • #23
    • October 1, 2016, at 9:19 PM PST
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  24. ParisParamus Member

    Hope he jujitsu a this to his favor. We are living through the end of our republic if he loses.

    • #24
    • October 1, 2016, at 10:10 PM PST
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  25. Douglas Inactive

    Judge Mental: The scandalous part is that there are laws against this kind of leak, and that we have no reason whatsoever to expect that anyone will be held to account.

    The guy could admit to it, and no one in the Obama Administration would ever punish him for it.

    • #25
    • October 1, 2016, at 10:17 PM PST
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  26. DocJay Inactive

    Cato Rand:

    Matt White:Didn’t Hillary implicate herself in this in the debate? She said he hadn’t paid taxes, then records backing up her claim show up.

    If she did, she did it the way Clintons do those sorts of things — maintaining plausible deniability.

    Of course it’s all fixed. Nobody will ever care or do anything. Absolutely nothing in the legal world will ever matter again after Obama and Clinton. That’s the new reality and when our pundits whine about it I hope they’re laughed at for what else did we really expect but total corruption and unaccountability ?

    • #26
    • October 2, 2016, at 12:23 AM PST
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  27. Marion Evans Inactive

    The practice of using losses to offset future income is legal and accepted. What looks fishy is the huge amount $916 million. Did he really have this much equity in the casinos and airline? Wasn’t it mostly borrowed money?

    • #27
    • October 2, 2016, at 3:08 AM PST
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  28. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive

    Underground Conservative:Here we go. We all knew it would happen, didn’t we?

    This is a positive. The ridiculous tax code that allows this is the problem.

    Trump has already said that he has bought politicians before and thinks it’s a rotten system. We agree. Right?

    • #28
    • October 2, 2016, at 3:21 AM PST
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  29. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive

    The King Prawn:Far more illegal? I’ve always thought of legal/illegal as binary rather than existing on a spectrum.

    Because murder and jaywalking should really be seen as the same thing. You’re merely parsing. Whom will you convince, other than adherents of toy academic theories?

    • #29
    • October 2, 2016, at 3:23 AM PST
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  30. Paul Erickson Member

    Cato Rand: If the NYT and other organs of the loud left are trying to make something of it, they’re trying to pull the wool over uninformed voters’ eyes.

    They are sure to succeed.

    • #30
    • October 2, 2016, at 4:09 AM PST
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