With friends like these, who needs transparency?
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) this week became the latest Republican ally to help President Donald Trump keep his tax returns secret.
Christie on Monday vetoed legislation that would have required Trump to release his tax returns before seeking reelection in the state in 2020. New Jersey’s state legislature passed the legislation in March.
“Unwilling to cope with the results of last November’s election, the Legislature introduced this unconstitutional bill as a form of therapy to deal with their disbelief at the 2016 election results, and to play politics to their base,” Christie said in a statement. “The hypocrisy and false outrage underlying this bill is stunning – even by Trenton standards.”
Citing an IRS audit, Trump has repeatedly refused to make his tax returns public, a decades-old tradition for presidential nominees. However, the IRS has said that the audit shouldn’t stand in his way.
It’s not the first time Trump allies have fought to keep the tax returns in the dark. In February, House Republicans killed a resolution that would have allowed the IRS to release the documents to the House Ways and Means Committee for review. Then, that committee could have decided to make them public.
Most of what we know about Trump’s finances comes from two pages of his 2005 return that MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow obtained in March. It’s problematic that we don’t know more, especially as the White House pushes a tax reform plan that would be hugely beneficial to rich people. Americans don’t know exactly how much money Trump’s proposed tax cuts would save him; what they do know suggests it could be a lot.
Releasing the tax returns could also clear up questions about Trump’s foreign business interests. But as long Republicans continue to protect the president, Americans may never get any clear answers.