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-   -   Why Does Congress Pussyfoot Around With Trump's Taxes? (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=875200)

Jinx 05-07-2019 08:10 PM

Why Does Congress Pussyfoot Around With Trump's Taxes?
 
Why didn't the House subpoena Trump's taxes instantly once the Democrats took control of the House? Why do they drag this out?

bobot 05-07-2019 08:14 PM

They did when they had a good damn reason, a good justification for the request. Scratch request, it was actually a demand that the IRS follow the law that allowed them to ask.

ThelmaLou 05-07-2019 08:37 PM

They don't want to make Donnie mad. When he's mad, he's scawwy.

That's all I got.

naita 05-08-2019 10:46 AM

Unlike Trump and his ilk many of the Democrats feel shame if they are accused of not playing by the rules (and by rules I mean US federal law and the US constitution).

Basically they are playing football against a team that has a bear on the team and insists the bear is not only a legal player who's not breaking any rules, but that it's the greatest player ever. There are refs who call out the bear for illegal tackles and such, but many of the calls are overruled by the league commissionaire.

To stop playing by the rules seems to many like the thing to do, but the Democrats want there to be a game and rules in the future, and many of the Republicans want less game and less rules, so the Democrats are in a lose-lose situation unless they can keep plodding on using the rules and hope eventually the bear will become unacceptable to a sufficient number of republicans, refs and the league commissionaire.

Shodan 05-08-2019 12:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jinx (Post 21630382)
Why didn't the House subpoena Trump's taxes instantly once the Democrats took control of the House? Why do they drag this out?

Because the idea that the head of the House Judiciary Committee can demand to see anyone's tax returns anytime he/she likes is not as much of an open-and-shut case as Dems would have us believe.

If the House issues the subpoena, it will wind up in federal court. If the court quashes the subpoena, the Dems will appeal; if it doesn't, the GOP will appeal. Eventually it will wind up in the Supreme Court, after a year or two or three. The Dems are no more likely to succeed there as at any of the lower courts.

And, turnabout is fair play. The head of the Senate Judiciary committee is also supposedly able to request tax returns from anybody. And not just Presidential candidates and Presidents, either. For instance, donors to candidates, too.

Saying that it is a point of contention as to whether this is a ploy to embarrass the President is, IMO, putting it mildly.

Regards,
Shodan

Ukulele Ike 05-08-2019 12:18 PM

Hey, Shodan!. Ever hear of Teapot Dome? Read a book or google it or something. It was quite the thing, back in the day!

QuickSilver 05-08-2019 12:29 PM

No, Shodan is right. We should only enforce laws in cases where people are most likely to co-operate with them. And gosh, every effort must be made to keep from exposing Trump as a fraud and a criminal. How embarrassing would it be if that turned out to be true.

Chisquirrel 05-08-2019 12:33 PM

Pft, it's not like Congress has sworn testimony from Trump's lawyer that he's been playing loose with a number of people, and his tax returns would show exactly that.

Y'know, the same lawyer that's currently in prison for illegally paying hush money to a pornstar to keep quiet an affair he had just after his son was born. Because demanding morality from our politicians is only well and good when they're Democrats, or something. It's not like cheating is a Commandment or something.

But yeah, it's just a chance to smear Trump. With crimes. Like a criminal.

naita 05-08-2019 12:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Shodan (Post 21631363)
And, turnabout is fair play. The head of the Senate Judiciary committee is also supposedly able to request tax returns from anybody. And not just Presidential candidates and Presidents, either. For instance, donors to candidates, too.

Seems like a good thing to me. And even if you think it's not, do you think donors to Republican candidates who fear their tax returns might be requested are going to appreciate Republicans starting revenge requests?

bobot 05-08-2019 12:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chisquirrel (Post 21631433)
Pft, it's not like Congress has sworn testimony from Trump's lawyer that he's been playing loose with a number of people, and his tax returns would show exactly that.

...

You know, if I had a nickel for every time I've pointed out this very thing on this board, I'd probably have 20, 25 cents by now. But this point goes right through Trump supporter's heads with no understanding.

Vinyl Turnip 05-08-2019 01:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Shodan (Post 21631363)
Saying that it is a point of contention as to whether this is a ploy to embarrass the President is, IMO, putting it mildly.

As a thought experiment, imagine that you're a person to whom it matters whether the president of the United States is a corrupt criminal. Someone who would be extremely concerned by it, even if the president is a Republican.

Euphonious Polemic 05-08-2019 01:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Vinyl Turnip (Post 21631511)
As a thought experiment, imagine that you're a person to whom it matters whether the president of the United States is a corrupt criminal. Someone who would be extremely concerned by it, even if the president is a Republican.

But but but, Trump is not a criminal, because HE SAYS SO. And that's good enough.

Also, WITCH HUNT!

Euphonious Polemic 05-08-2019 01:24 PM

And Trump has been completely and fully exonerated, according to the person who Trump appointed to exonerate him. Just because the report specifically said that Trump was not exonerated is not proof of anything.

Also, it's good if nobody sees the full report except the guy Trump hired to exonerate him. Because WITCH HUNT. Trump is not a criminal because the president cannot be indicted for criminal acts. QED

You see, this all makes sense to Trump supporters. You have to realize that trying to make him see it any other way is pointless.

sps49sd 05-08-2019 01:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Vinyl Turnip (Post 21631511)
As a thought experiment, imagine that you're a person to whom it matters whether the president of the United States is a corrupt criminal. Someone who would be extremely concerned by it, even if the president is a Republican.

And he put criminal evidence in his tax return? Which he probably barely saw, delegating that to staff. Who also know what's there. And are remarkably silent in this age of anonymous tips.

QuickSilver 05-08-2019 01:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Euphonious Polemic (Post 21631543)
Also, WITCH HUNT!

Thank goodness it's all, "Finished. Over. Completed."

Vinyl Turnip 05-08-2019 02:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sps49sd (Post 21631549)
And he put criminal evidence in his tax return? Which he probably barely saw, delegating that to staff. Who also know what's there. And are remarkably silent in this age of anonymous tips.

Yeah, you're right. Unless he listed "illegal bribes" on his Schedule A and "money laundering" on line 21, there's probably nothing useful to be learned.

And whoever heard of a career criminal being taken down for tax fraud, anyway? Trump is untouchable!

Chisquirrel 05-08-2019 02:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sps49sd (Post 21631549)
And he put criminal evidence in his tax return? Which he probably barely saw, delegating that to staff. Who also know what's there. And are remarkably silent in this age of anonymous tips.

That's already been answered - Michael Cohen, Fixer Extraordinaire, has said, under oath, that there are crimes in his tax returns. I know things move fast, but it's been months.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Vinyl Turnip (Post 21631698)
And whoever heard of a career criminal being taken down for tax fraud, anyway? Trump is untouchable!

Well played, if mildly inaccurate.

Budget Player Cadet 05-08-2019 04:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Shodan (Post 21631363)
Because the idea that the head of the House Judiciary Committee can demand to see anyone's tax returns anytime he/she likes is not as much of an open-and-shut case as Dems would have us believe.

"This is not an issue on which there is any possibility of reasonable disagreement. Any well-informed person who disagrees either that the Ways and Means Committee has an obligation to demand Trump’s tax returns as part of fulfilling its oversight duties or that Trump is legally obliged to turn them over is either a partisan hack or contemptuous of the rule of law."
- Daniel Shaviro, law professor, New York University

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.vox...-legal-experts

The degree to which this is not an open-and-shut case is the degree to which our judiciary is hopelessly compromised to partisan ends. It is perhaps telling that Shodan doesn't actually make an argument as to why this might not be an open-and-shut case. Then again, it's not his job to think up sophistic arguments to defend the indefensible to cover for republicans, so I'll let it slide. (That's Bret Kavanaugh's job.)

Quartz 05-08-2019 04:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Euphonious Polemic (Post 21631543)
But but but, Trump is not a criminal, because HE SAYS SO. And that's good enough.

But but but, Trump's a criminal, because YOU SAY SO. And that's good enough.

You know, I thought that in America you had the principle of presumption of innocence. Or doesn't that apply to people with an R after their name?

Tell me, have all the Democrat Senators and Representatives released their tax returns? If not, why not?

The view from 4000 miles away is that they're just playing politics, keeping the issue bubbling. They don't want push to come to shove. It's win-win for them as they keep the issue bubbling and they follow the adage of never stopping your opponent when he's making a mistake. Quite clever, really.

bobot 05-08-2019 04:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Quartz (Post 21631911)
..
You know, I thought that in America you had the principle of presumption of innocence. ...

That kicks in once you've been arrested and charged with a crime. Let's go there!

Euphonious Polemic 05-08-2019 04:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Quartz (Post 21631911)
But but but, Trump's a criminal, because YOU SAY SO. And that's good enough.

You know, I thought that in America you had the principle of presumption of innocence. Or doesn't that apply to people with an R after their name?

Tell me, have all the Democrat Senators and Representatives released their tax returns? If not, why not?

The view from 4000 miles away is that they're just playing politics, keeping the issue bubbling. They don't want push to come to shove. It's win-win for them as they keep the issue bubbling and they follow the adage of never stopping your opponent when he's making a mistake. Quite clever, really.

No, not just me. Hundreds, HUNDREDS of former prosecutors. From both parties. Appointed by presidents going back decades.

Not just me. The Mueller Report. Not the Barr memo that "totally exonerated him". The actual report, which did NOT.

But hey - let's pretend this is "just my opinion, some dude on the internet". Good arguing tactic there.

Have senators EVER released tax returns? No. But presidents have. For decades. But not our special Mr. Trump. Oh no. Dear Leader does not do that. Dear Leader does whatever he wants. Dear Leader has nothing to hide, so you can't see anything.

Sure, the "view from 4000 miles away." This is also known as "the view by people who are not in full grasp of the facts, and get their news from memes on the internet" It's the view from the uneducated, the ill-informed and authoritarians who love Dear Leader.

And now we have a case where Dear Leader Trump has claimed executive privilege into a report about HIS OWN CONDUCT, and his instructing HIS OWN APPOINTEE to refuse to cooperate with Congress. Dear Leader Trump is innocent, so you can't see the investigation - just trust the guy Trump hired to spike the investigation.

Jesus. You are actually defending this. Actually. Wow.

Presumption of Innocence? Really? So this now involves burying the investigation, and refusing to release details to congress? Really?

Euphonious Polemic 05-08-2019 04:58 PM

Dude with crack pipe to cop:

"Hey, I"m entitled to presumption of innocence, so you are not allowed to give your report to the DA!"

Akaj 05-08-2019 05:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Quartz (Post 21631911)
But but but, Trump's a criminal, because YOU SAY SO. And that's good enough.

You know, I thought that in America you had the principle of presumption of innocence. Or doesn't that apply to people with an R after their name?

Based on the low bar set by the crowd who chanted "lock her up" about a woman who has still never been charged with a thing, calling Trump a criminal based on what we know about him is the mildest of accustaions.

Quote:

Originally Posted by bobot (Post 21631920)
That kicks in once you've been arrested and charged with a crime. Let's go there!

Yes, let's! Anyone other than a sitting president who committed the acts detailed in the Mueller report would have been hit with a dozen indictments already. I would pay good money to watch Individual #1 take the stand to defend his presumed innocence.

Quartz 05-08-2019 05:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Euphonious Polemic (Post 21631945)
Jesus. You are actually defending this. Actually. Wow.

You did read my whole post, didn't you?

Anyway, a quick search would have shown you that I have a thing about presumption of innocence that long pre-dates Trump.

steronz 05-08-2019 05:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Quartz (Post 21631911)
But but but, Trump's a criminal, because YOU SAY SO. And that's good enough.

You know, I thought that in America you had the principle of presumption of innocence. Or doesn't that apply to people with an R after their name?

As has been pointed out... in this thread.... Michael Cohen also said so. Trump's own lawyer told congress to pull his tax returns to find evidence of criminal acts. I can't imagine why they wouldn't actually, you know, follow up on that bombshell of a tip. Can you explain why they should ignore Michael Cohen?

HurricaneDitka 05-08-2019 05:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by steronz (Post 21631998)
... Can you explain why they should ignore Michael Cohen?

Well, for starters, the guy is currently in prison for lying.

steronz 05-08-2019 05:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by HurricaneDitka (Post 21632004)
Well, for starters, the guy is currently in prison for lying.

Right, if only there were some way congress could find out if he's lying.... maybe by pulling Trump's tax returns to see if they confirm what Cohen said.


This is a truly baffling defense of Trump here. Presumption of innocence does not mean people can't be investigated, and someone being a criminal has never precluded police or investigators from even considering the information they give. The world where congress can't follow up on a tip from Cohen because of either "presumption of innocence" or "Cohen lied in the past" is not not the actual world we live in. Those are not the rules we operate under. It's a non-starter.

Euphonious Polemic 05-08-2019 05:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by steronz (Post 21632009)
Right, if only there were some way congress could find out if he's lying.... maybe by pulling Trump's tax returns to see if they confirm what Cohen said.


This is a truly baffling defense of Trump here. Presumption of innocence does not mean people can't be investigated, and someone being a criminal has never precluded police or investigators from even considering the information they give. The world where congress can't follow up on a tip from Cohen because of either "presumption of innocence" or "Cohen lied in the past" is not not the actual world we live in. Those are not the rules we operate under. It's a non-starter.

Exactly right.

Some here seem to think that "presumption of innocence" means "you can't investigate me", or "after the investigation, you have to ignore the report, and only listen to my lawyer", or "I'm allowed to have my people lie during the investigation ,and that's OK"

Quartz 05-08-2019 06:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Euphonious Polemic (Post 21632032)
Exactly right.

Exactly wrong. As usual, you, like others, are failing to distinguish between defending Trump - which I am not - and pointing out a stupid and flawed attack. Contrast my comments on your post with my analysis of what the actual politicians are doing.

naita 05-08-2019 06:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Quartz (Post 21632083)
pointing out a stupid and flawed attack.

It's only a stupid and flawed attack if you're a biased and willfully ignorant hack.

Akaj 05-08-2019 06:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Quartz (Post 21632083)
Exactly wrong. As usual, you, like others, are failing to distinguish between defending Trump - which I am not - and pointing out a stupid and flawed attack. Contrast my comments on your post with my analysis of what the actual politicians are doing.

Perhaps the ongoing investigations and requests for tax returns are nothing but "a stupid and flawed attack." (I disagree, but let's just say.) What does presumption of innocence have to do with it? If presumption of innocence shielded politicians from stupid and flawed attacks, we'd have to pretty much erase the entirety of U.S. history.

Or, if your argument is that presumption of innocence is what makes these investigations nothing but "a stupid and flawed attack," that also makes no sense. As steronz pointed out, if presumption of innocence meant people couldn't be investigated, you'd never convict anybody.

Trump isn't afforded the presumption of innocence until he's actually been charged with something. Now, what's your point?

steronz 05-08-2019 06:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Quartz (Post 21632083)
Exactly wrong. As usual, you, like others, are failing to distinguish between defending Trump - which I am not - and pointing out a stupid and flawed attack. Contrast my comments on your post with my analysis of what the actual politicians are doing.

I'm not sure what you were trying to point out then, but if you're not defending Trump then presumably you're OK with congress pulling his taxes and upset that he's blocked the IRS from doing so, which is good enough for me. Cheers.

Euphonious Polemic 05-08-2019 07:03 PM

When people here in this thread start chanting "lock him up, lock him up", THEN you can go on about "presumption of innocence.

What you can't do is say that congress cannot do their duty and ask for Trump's tax returns. or ask to look at a report into Russian influence on the election because "presumption of innocence"

This is EXACTLY what congress is supposed to do. Act as a branch of government. Checking the other branch. Making them accountable.

"You can't look at the results of an investigation because presumption of innocence"

"You can't look at a president's tax forms after credible accusations of fiddling the IRS (out of Trump's very mouth), because presumption of innocence"

Both of these are wrong, wrong wrong.

Evil Economist 05-08-2019 08:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Quartz (Post 21631966)
Anyway, a quick search would have shown you that I have a thing about presumption of innocence that long pre-dates Trump.

In your mind does "presumption of innocence" mean that you can't investigate crimes? If so you have a unique and interesting understanding of things, and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter (which I will refuse to pay for, along with the car and house that I will steal from you).

Evil Economist 05-08-2019 11:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by HurricaneDitka (Post 21632004)
Well, for starters, the guy is currently in prison for lying.

Is it difficult to think that lying is bad while supporting Donald Trump?

Chisquirrel 05-09-2019 12:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Quartz (Post 21631911)
But but but, Trump's a criminal, because YOU SAY SO. And that's good enough.

Jesus, is reading that difficult? His OWN LAWYER says so. THAT'S why Congress is looking for his taxes.

Budget Player Cadet 05-09-2019 04:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Quartz (Post 21631911)
But but but, Trump's a criminal, because YOU SAY SO. And that's good enough.

You know, I thought that in America you had the principle of presumption of innocence. Or doesn't that apply to people with an R after their name?

Ah yes, the presumption of innocence. That magical thing that means that when you are credibly accused of criminal behavior (for example, if your personal lawyer claims that you have been committing tax fraud for a long time), not only is it unreasonable for anyone to demand you face consequences for that behavior, but even the act of investigating whether those accusations are true or not is beyond the pale.

This is totally how the presumption of innocence works. No, really, guys, stop laughing.

Quote:

The view from 4000 miles away is that they're just playing politics, keeping the issue bubbling.
Are you aware that Trump's lawyer testified under oath to congress that Trump almost certainly committed tax fraud?

If not, maybe you'd do well to stay out of a discussion you don't know the first thing about.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Quartz (Post 21632083)
Exactly wrong. As usual, you, like others, are failing to distinguish between defending Trump - which I am not - and pointing out a stupid and flawed attack. Contrast my comments on your post with my analysis of what the actual politicians are doing.

The problem is that your attempts to point out what you call a "stupid and flawed attack" are so utterly ridiculous that it's hard to read it as a good-faith defense of (nonexistent) legal principles and incredibly easy to read it as a bad-faith attempt to deflect attacks against Trump. No, the presumption of innocence does not mean that it is illegal for the authorities to investigate whether or not serious criminal allegations are accurate. That's not how any of this shit works and it boggles the mind to hear someone say something so wrong.

Gyrate 05-09-2019 05:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by HurricaneDitka (Post 21632004)
Well, for starters, the guy is currently in prison for lying.

Yes, we shouldn't trust him when he says Trump did something dodgy because he's in prison for lying when he said that Trump didn't do something dodgy. That makes sense.

Steophan 05-09-2019 06:21 AM

The reason the IRS hasn't released Trump's tax returns is that it would be illegal for them to do so, as Congress has no legitimate reason for asking for them.

If Congress starts holding people in contempt for not breaking the law on their behalf, they would be acting no better than Trump.

asahi 05-09-2019 06:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steophan (Post 21632732)
The reason the IRS hasn't released Trump's tax returns is that it would be illegal for them to do so, as Congress has no legitimate reason for asking for them.

If Congress starts holding people in contempt for not breaking the law on their behalf, they would be acting no better than Trump.

The House of Representatives has a Constitutional responsibility of oversight. The branches of government were created co-equally - at least on paper anyway. There's a 1924 Act that was signed into law precisely in response to the fact that, at the time, Congress didn't have the power to access tax records. The Congress, with the president's signature, gave itself that power, and it really doesn't need much of a reason other than oversight.

Of course, like all things, the president could litigate, and he's obviously doing that. But he will most likely lose that court battle. The problem for Democrats is, it could take a while to get through the court system. The other problem is, there has to be a mechanism that forces Steve Mnuchin or one of his agents to physically release those documents, which isn't easy when an administration frequently ignores the law.

asahi 05-09-2019 06:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chisquirrel (Post 21632550)
Jesus, is reading that difficult? His OWN LAWYER says so. THAT'S why Congress is looking for his taxes.

I think that is probably the fastest way to get Trump to release his taxes, if there's any way at all (it's a long shot, IMO). But if there's a way, it would be to find people who have seen his taxes or who know intimate details about his private business, and then try to get them to testify publicly. If there are some sensational charges, then the public might actually get curious enough to want his tax returns made public.

But the other way is a collapse in public opinion brought on by a national emergency such as a major recession or a military adventure that goes awry. Donald Trump is a political emergency. The only way to defeat him is to weaken his political standing. That is most likely the only way to get him and the plutocrats out of power.

There are opportunities the Democrats have to hammer away about how things like rising rents, rising tuition, rising healthcare costs, and taxcuts for the rich are basically stealing the American dream from the middle class and Trump has done absolutely nothing to solve these problems. In fact he's done everything to make them worse. The Dems need to be focusing on that shit instead of his damn tax returns.

Budget Player Cadet 05-09-2019 06:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steophan (Post 21632732)
The reason the IRS hasn't released Trump's tax returns is that it would be illegal for them to do so, as Congress has no legitimate reason for asking for them.

Got a citation that isn't Steve Mnuchin covering for his boss? Or are you still somehow laboring under the constantly-refuted delusion that when someone from the Trump administration says something, they aren't most likely lying?

The idea that congressional oversight is not a "legitimate legislative purpose" is such bald-faced bullshit that I cannot believe anyone takes it seriously. It is literally the reason the law was crafted in the first place - it was a response to the Teapot Dome scandal.

iiandyiiii 05-09-2019 06:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steophan (Post 21632732)
The reason the IRS hasn't released Trump's tax returns is that it would be illegal for them to do so, as Congress has no legitimate reason for asking for them.

If Congress starts holding people in contempt for not breaking the law on their behalf, they would be acting no better than Trump.

This is not an accurate interpretation of the law based on everything I've read that wasn't from those in Trump's thrall.

Steophan 05-09-2019 07:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by iiandyiiii (Post 21632754)
This is not an accurate interpretation of the law based on everything I've read that wasn't from those in Trump's thrall.

We'll find out the answer to that if and when it reaches the Supreme Court. However, as the official response is that the DOJ says it would be illegal to release the returns, it would be hugely wrong for Congress to hold anyone in contempt for following that advice.

Precedent may well be important here. Under what circumstances have Congress subpoenad tax returns in the past?

Steophan 05-09-2019 07:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Budget Player Cadet (Post 21632751)
Got a citation that isn't Steve Mnuchin covering for his boss? Or are you still somehow laboring under the constantly-refuted delusion that when someone from the Trump administration says something, they aren't most likely lying?

I doubt he's lying that the DOJ has given that advice. It's not impossible, but unlikely, as there's no good reason to think the DOJ wouldn't do so.

Quote:

The idea that congressional oversight is not a "legitimate legislative purpose" is such bald-faced bullshit that I cannot believe anyone takes it seriously. It is literally the reason the law was crafted in the first place - it was a response to the Teapot Dome scandal.
What pending legislation will seeing Trump's tax returns affect? If this law is meant to allow Congress to investigate and oversee the Executive, it seems that only allowing it for legislative purposes is a bad way of doing it.

Vinyl Turnip 05-09-2019 07:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steophan (Post 21632768)
We'll find out the answer to that if and when it reaches the Supreme Court. However, as the official response is that the DOJ says it would be illegal to release the returns, it would be hugely wrong for Congress to hold anyone in contempt for following that advice.

Precedent may well be important here. Under what circumstances have Congress subpoenad tax returns in the past?

Without exception, they have subpoenaed the returns of every president who refused to release them in the past 46 or so years.

iiandyiiii 05-09-2019 07:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steophan (Post 21632768)
Precedent may well be important here.

Unless I'm missing something, the IRS or Treasury Department has never before denied a request from Congress to see tax documents. It's the Trump administration that is violating precedent, not Congress.

bobot 05-09-2019 07:16 AM

The illegal thing here is the refusal to comply with the law that allows the demand.

iiandyiiii 05-09-2019 07:17 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steophan (Post 21632778)
I doubt he's lying that the DOJ has given that advice. It's not impossible, but unlikely, as there's no good reason to think the DOJ wouldn't do so.

What could possibly lead you to believe this, considering how frequently and blatantly members of this administration have lied? Barr lied openly about the Mueller report, even presumably knowing his lies would be exposed in a matter of days.

Steophan 05-09-2019 07:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bobot (Post 21632786)
The illegal thing here is the refusal to comply with the law that allows the demand.

That's what one side claim. The other side claim that the law does not allow that demand, and the side that make the latter claim is the Department of Justice. This will probably end up in the Supreme Court in a few years, and that Court will probably side with the DOJ.

The Democrats in Congress may well be able to make Trump look bad for hiding behind lawyers and courts to keep his tax returns private (if it's even possible to make him look worse) - but attempting to hold people in contempt for following legal advice should not be acceptable.

Steophan 05-09-2019 07:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by iiandyiiii (Post 21632787)
What could possibly lead you to believe this, considering how frequently and blatantly members of this administration have lied? Barr lied openly about the Mueller report, even presumably knowing his lies would be exposed in a matter of days.

I believe that the DOJ probably did give this advice, as they are as invested in protecting Trump as the rest of the executive. I further believe that they will stand behind that position all the way to the Supreme Court, and will win.

None of which has anything to do with the intentions of the writers of the law, or the morality of Trump hiding his tax returns.

bobot 05-09-2019 07:29 AM

The law is simply the law. It requires no DOJ interpretation.

As for this:
Quote:

Originally Posted by Steophan (Post 21632794)
...The Democrats in Congress may well be able to make Trump look bad ....

Leave that up to Trump.

Steophan 05-09-2019 07:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by iiandyiiii (Post 21632785)
Unless I'm missing something, the IRS or Treasury Department has never before denied a request from Congress to see tax documents. It's the Trump administration that is violating precedent, not Congress.

Well, that's what I'm asking. How often, and for what stated purpose, are these requests made? Is this a theoretical power that's never been tested, one that's used uncontroversially on a regular basis, one that's been used occasionally in exceptional circumstances, or something else?

I'm asking this because I don't know, and a very quick Google search hasn't answered the question.

steronz 05-09-2019 07:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steophan (Post 21632778)
What pending legislation will seeing Trump's tax returns affect? If this law is meant to allow Congress to investigate and oversee the Executive, it seems that only allowing it for legislative purposes is a bad way of doing it.

The part that your missing is that the law doesn't "only allow it for legislative purposes." That's the part that Mnuchin and the DOJ are pulling out of thin air. The law makes no mention of any purpose, need, requirement or whatever. It just says congress can ask, and the treasury department shall deliver, full stop. And if you read up on the history of the law, the debates that were had, the language that was considered, you'll realize that the fact that it doesn't require any reason was entirely intentional.

What Sec Mnuchin (and apparently the DOJ) are going to argue, here, is that the law is unconstitutional because congress shouldn't have such broad powers to view tax information, and hope that SCOTUS throws it out. I don't see how they'll get past a plain reading of the text but I'm not a lawyer. But if you're going to continue to argue in favor the Trump administration here, you need to understand two things -- one, congress has the upper hand because of the plain language of the law, and two, the administration's defense is a hail mary pass straight to SCOTUS, because the law is not on their side.

Steophan 05-09-2019 07:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bobot (Post 21632800)
The law is simply the law. It requires no DOJ interpretation.

The law always requires interpretation, that's why lawyers and judges exist.

That Congress has the power to subpoena tax returns does not mean they can do so when it's illegal for them to do so, and the Supreme Court has held that there must be a legitimate legislative purpose before they investigate private financial affairs, and also that any demand for information must be for a legitimate Congressional task, which does not include investigating crimes. This article goes into much more detail, with cites to the rulings.

A further article from the same site, but by a different lawyer, claims that the law has not been tested by the courts, and so it is far from clear that these precedents do not apply.

In short, the legal situation is not as clear cut as people are making out, and will almost certainly need to be decided by the courts. Which, with the current Supreme Court, means it will be decided in Trump's favour.

None of which touches on the question of whether Trump's tax returns should be revealed. My personal opinion is that it's pretty much irrelevant, and that Congress should use the avenues available to it to remove Trump via impeachment or incompetence, or failing that ensuring there's a better candidate in 18 months time. Then he can be investigated fully for the alleged crimes without hindrance.

Ravenman 05-09-2019 07:52 AM

Steophan - when you first heard that Nixon claimed that he didn't have to turn over the White House tapes, and his DOJ argued that he had absolute executive privilege, did you assume that Nixon was in the right and he would win in court?

ETA: Also, when the Supreme Court ruled that demands by Congress for information must relate to a legislative purpose, did you assume that that controversy was related to Congress seeking documents or testimony from a co-equal branch of government? Do you know the context of that court case?

iiandyiiii 05-09-2019 07:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steophan (Post 21632809)
Well, that's what I'm asking. How often, and for what stated purpose, are these requests made? Is this a theoretical power that's never been tested, one that's used uncontroversially on a regular basis, one that's been used occasionally in exceptional circumstances, or something else?

I'm asking this because I don't know, and a very quick Google search hasn't answered the question.

Rarely, but not never, based on this (no details that I could find): https://www.npr.org/2018/10/11/65661...rns-here-s-how

As to the legality of Congress's demand, according to these 11 legal experts, the law is clear that Congress can demand and obtain these tax records, and there is no legal way to deny them: https://www.vox.com/2019/4/9/1829680...-legal-experts

We'll see in the courts. Hopefully the courts are considering how they're viewed in terms of legitimacy; if Americans cease to have confidence that our courts are legitimate, then it doesn't really matter what the law says -- power becomes the only rule.

Out of curiosity, why do you parrot the Trump administration, as if their assertions about law are necessarily correct? You obviously don't appear to be certain. But when you just say "Congress has no legitimate reason for asking for them", you're just parroting Trump. Why would you do that?

ElvisL1ves 05-09-2019 07:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steophan (Post 21632732)
The reason the IRS hasn't released Trump's tax returns is that it would be illegal for them to do so, as Congress has no legitimate reason for asking for them.

Emoluments. Deutsche Bank. Russia.

There is no legitimate reason to withhold them.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Budget Player Cadet (Post 21632665)
Are you aware that Trump's lawyer testified under oath to congress that Trump almost certainly committed tax fraud?

Never mind that; he himself just confessed to it with his tweet calling it "sport".

steronz 05-09-2019 07:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steophan (Post 21632732)
The reason the IRS hasn't released Trump's tax returns is that it would be illegal for them to do so, as Congress has no legitimate reason for asking for them.

If Congress starts holding people in contempt for not breaking the law on their behalf, they would be acting no better than Trump.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steophan (Post 21632828)
In short, the legal situation is not as clear cut as people are making out, and will almost certainly need to be decided by the courts. Which, with the current Supreme Court, means it will be decided in Trump's favour.

Having trouble squaring the confidence of your first post here with the caveat in your last.

Budget Player Cadet 05-09-2019 08:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steophan (Post 21632778)
I doubt he's lying

Why?

Seriously, stop giving these people the benefit of the doubt when it comes to honesty. They lie constantly, intentionally, shamelessly, and knowingly. They lie to the press. They lie to the public. They lie when they know their lies will be revealed days later. They lie about trivially observable reality. They lie and lie and lie and lie and keep fucking lying.

Why would you doubt that he's lying?

When you say "I doubt <insert Trump administratino figure here> is lying", I read that the same way as, "I doubt the sun will rise in the morning" - you'd better offer a damn good reason, or your pattern recognition skills have failed you quite thoroughly.

Railer13 05-09-2019 08:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steophan (Post 21632828)
...Congress should use the avenues available to it to remove Trump via impeachment or incompetence...

And just how, pray tell, can Congress remove a president because he's incompetent? If there was a way to do so, Trump should have been out of office before the end of January 2017.

Chronos 05-09-2019 08:56 AM

And only one side is saying something that is consistent with what the law actually says. Just because you don't like a law, doesn't mean that you get to pretend that it doesn't exist. Laws don't work that way.

ElvisL1ves 05-09-2019 08:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Railer13 (Post 21632891)
And just how, pray tell, can Congress remove a president because he's incompetent?

Impeachment can be for any cause Congress wants it to be. Don't we all know that by now?

(The right to abortion comes under constructive due process, btw).

Steophan 05-09-2019 09:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Railer13 (Post 21632891)
And just how, pray tell, can Congress remove a president because he's incompetent? If there was a way to do so, Trump should have been out of office before the end of January 2017.

They need the Vice President on side as well.

Steophan 05-09-2019 09:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by steronz (Post 21632846)
Having trouble squaring the confidence of your first post here with the caveat in your last.

I should probably have said in the first post that the reason they were giving is that it's illegal. Point being, they are not simply ignoring Congress's demand but claiming that they may not legally fulfil that demand.

I still think it's extremely likely that the Supremes will side with Trump and the DOJ, and the demand will, in fact, turn out to be illegal.

steronz 05-09-2019 09:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steophan (Post 21633024)
I should probably have said in the first post that the reason they were giving is that it's illegal. Point being, they are not simply ignoring Congress's demand but claiming that they may not legally fulfil that demand.

Yes, you probably should have. But of course, if all you're doing is relaying what Mnuchin has said, then that doesn't really add much to the conversation that we couldn't all read for ourselves in pretty much any news coverage of the topic.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steophan (Post 21633024)
I still think it's extremely likely that the Supremes will side with Trump and the DOJ, and the demand will, in fact, turn out to be illegal.

That's all well and good, obviously others disagree. At best, we've got a president who claims he did nothing wrong, but refuses to release exculpatory evidence to the oversight committee in violation of an apparently lawful request, and is prepared to take this refusal all the way to the supreme court in order to avoid having to clear his name. How Trump comes out of this looking better than congress is beyond me.

Euphonious Polemic 05-09-2019 09:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ElvisL1ves (Post 21632840)
Emoluments. Deutsche Bank. Russia.

There is no legitimate reason to withhold them.

Never mind that; he himself just confessed to it with his tweet calling it "sport".

Indeed. From an analyst after the questioning of Cohen about Trump's creative valuation of his properties:

"“Fundamentally, this is a question of Trump’s attitude toward taxes,” says Steve Rosenthal, senior fellow for the Urban–Brookings Tax Policy Center. “Does he believe that taxes are a shared responsibility? Or does he believe that taxes are a game of hide and seek?”

And now we know the answer to that question, directly from Trump himself. Paying taxes is "a sport", one that presumably you can cheat to win at, just like Trump does with golf.

Ravenman 05-09-2019 10:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steophan (Post 21633024)
I still think it's extremely likely that the Supremes will side with Trump and the DOJ, and the demand will, in fact, turn out to be illegal.

Are you aware that the Supreme Court found that forcing Americans to testify before the House Un-American Affairs Committee to interrogate them about possible Communist sympathies was found to be a "legitimate legislative purpose?"

On your scale of legitimate purposes, where does routine oversight of tax laws as they apply to the President rank in relation to a witch hunt for Communists? It sounds like lower, but I just want to be sure.

drad dog 05-09-2019 10:13 AM

leg·is·la·tive
/ˈlejəˌslādiv/
adjective
having the power to make laws.
"the country's supreme legislative body"
synonyms: law-making, law-giving, judicial, juridical, jurisdictive, parliamentary, congressional, senatorial, deliberative, governmental, policy-making, administrative; rarelegislatorial
"a legislative assembly"
relating to laws or the making of them.
"legislative proposals"
relating to a legislature.

There is no "non-legislative" activity in congress. It all has to do with lawmaking. We haven't written the laws yet, but does anyone doubt that the turnp administration will necessitate future lawmaking?

Shodan 05-09-2019 11:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ukulele Ike (Post 21631395)
Hey, Shodan!. Ever hear of Teapot Dome? Read a book or google it or something. It was quite the thing, back in the day!

I fully support your efforts to see Warren G. Harding's tax returns. It could be the break the Eugene V. Debs campaign needs!

Regards,
Shodan

Skywatcher 05-09-2019 11:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Budget Player Cadet (Post 21632855)
They lie constantly, intentionally, shamelessly, and knowingly. They lie to the press. They lie to the public. They lie when they know their lies will be revealed days later. They lie about trivially observable reality. They lie and lie and lie and lie and keep fucking lying.

A parody of "Rainy Day Women ♯12 & 35" is in there somewhere...

Gyrate 05-09-2019 11:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Shodan (Post 21633317)
I fully support your efforts to see Warren G. Harding's tax returns. It could be the break the Eugene V. Debs campaign needs!

Regards,
Shodan

It's good to finally see you supporting presidential accountability. What brought you around?

Ravenman 05-09-2019 12:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gyrate (Post 21633340)
It's good to finally see you supporting presidential accountability. What brought you around?

He is laboring under the impression that Harding was a Democrat.

ElvisL1ves 05-09-2019 12:15 PM

Musta been a Fox chyron.

Steophan 05-09-2019 03:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ravenman (Post 21633100)
Are you aware that the Supreme Court found that forcing Americans to testify before the House Un-American Affairs Committee to interrogate them about possible Communist sympathies was found to be a "legitimate legislative purpose?"

On your scale of legitimate purposes, where does routine oversight of tax laws as they apply to the President rank in relation to a witch hunt for Communists? It sounds like lower, but I just want to be sure.

My scale of legitimate purposes is entirely irrelevant here, as is yours. It's the opinion of the majority of the Supreme Court judges that matters here, and as it stands they will almost certainly find for Trump and the Republicans if there's a fig leaf of precedent to hide behind (and quite possibly even if there isn't).

It was the aftermath of the HUAC situation that lead to the Supreme Court decision I referred to earlier, which placed limits on Congressional investigations, including that their job is not to investigate crimes.

My opinion, ultimately, is that Congress should not be investigating allegations of crimes, and that it has avenues open to removing an unacceptable or incompetent President without needing to do so, and that any protections that President has against investigation or prosecution will end when that happens. The problem is, Congress does not agree that the President is unacceptable or incompetent.

As for your actual question, as to which is worse, there's not much difference. In both cases, those being investigated were accused of being traitors with ties to Russia. The problem with HUAC is that it kept catching people who weren't communists, not with it's stated purpose.

steronz 05-09-2019 03:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steophan (Post 21633798)
My opinion, ultimately, is that Congress should not be investigating allegations of crimes, and that it has avenues open to removing an unacceptable or incompetent President without needing to do so, and that any protections that President has against investigation or prosecution will end when that happens. The problem is, Congress does not agree that the President is unacceptable or incompetent.

Hold up. If the president commits "high crimes and misdemeanors", and the house chooses to impeach him for those crimes, how on earth will they do that without investigating allegations first?

Steophan 05-09-2019 03:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by steronz (Post 21633051)
How Trump comes out of this looking better than congress is beyond me.

He comes out of this looking good to his supporters because he is getting one over on "the man", or trying to. Sadly, those supporters don't realise that Trump is now part of the group they see as "the man", and before that did far worse things than they do.

Trump is a terrible President and a terrible human being, that will get very little argument on this board. But in America as a whole, there's a huge amount of people who disagree. And if you want to successfully oppose them, or even understand what's happening, simply classing their worldview as beyond you won't cut it.

Steophan 05-09-2019 03:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by steronz (Post 21633814)
Hold up. If the president commits "high crimes and misdemeanors", and the house chooses to impeach him for those crimes, how on earth will they do that without investigating allegations first?


I'll link again to the aricle from earlier
, which goes into detail about this, but the short answer is that impeachment is not a criminal sanction, and so isn't treated the same - but Congress has made clear that this is not an impeachment investigation.

In the specific case of Trump, Congress has the right to investigate whether he should be impeached, but does not have the right to take on the role of the executive or the judiciary and launch a criminal investigation simply because it doesn't like the jandling of the Mueller report. The main difference being that its oversight function is fundamentally negative - that is, it can remover someone by impeachment, but can't actively compel the exectutive to investigate something, or the judiciary to rule on it, and nor can it usurp those functions. It's supposed to be a check on the powers of the other branches, not a right to bring those powers in house.

iiandyiiii 05-09-2019 03:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steophan (Post 21633827)


I'll link again to the aricle from earlier
, which goes into detail about this, but the short answer is that impeachment is not a criminal sanction, and so isn't treated the same - but Congress has made clear that this is not an impeachment investigation.



In the specific case of Trump, Congress has the right to investigate whether he should be impeached, but does not have the right to take on the role of the executive or the judiciary and launch a criminal investigation simply because it doesn't like the jandling of the Mueller report. The main difference being that its oversight function is fundamentally negative - that is, it can remover someone by impeachment, but can't actively compel the exectutive to investigate something, or the judiciary to rule on it, and nor can it usurp those functions. It's supposed to be a check on the powers of the other branches, not a right to bring those powers in house.

By precedent and history, it's incredibly common for congress to investigate possible wrongdoing by the executive branch. Nothing congress is doing currently is unusual, in terms of investigations into Trump and his world.

steronz 05-09-2019 03:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steophan (Post 21633827)

I'll link again to the aricle from earlier
, which goes into detail about this, but the short answer is that impeachment is not a criminal sanction, and so isn't treated the same - but Congress has made clear that this is not an impeachment investigation.

I'm not clear what incredibly thin line you're trying to walk here. Congress must investigate allegations in order to impeach, but you're saying they can't do so unless they decide at the outset that it's an "impeachment investigation?" I'm not sure the government works that way.

Hari Seldon 05-09-2019 04:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Quartz (Post 21631911)
But but but, Trump's a criminal, because YOU SAY SO. And that's good enough.

You know, I thought that in America you had the principle of presumption of innocence. Or doesn't that apply to people with an R after their name?

Tell me, have all the Democrat Senators and Representatives released their tax returns? If not, why not?

The view from 4000 miles away is that they're just playing politics, keeping the issue bubbling. They don't want push to come to shove. It's win-win for them as they keep the issue bubbling and they follow the adage of never stopping your opponent when he's making a mistake. Quite clever, really.

Don't you know the difference between presumption of innocence and presumption that there is something to investigate. The law on tax returns says that the congressional committees can look at anybody's tax return, not anybody except someone with an "r" in their name. And it was passed at a time that the president was directly in their cross-hairs.

Another point. They are not asking him to release his returns; only to allow them to look at them, in accordance with an explicit law. They would remain a closely guarded secret. Unless they became a basis for impeachment.

Skywatcher 05-09-2019 04:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steophan (Post 21633827)

I'll link again to the aricle from earlier
, which goes into detail about this, but the short answer is that impeachment is not a criminal sanction, and so isn't treated the same - but Congress has made clear that this is not an impeachment investigation.

Not so fast. Pelosi is deliberately clamping down on talk of impeachment so they can properly investigate first.

Steophan 05-09-2019 05:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hari Seldon (Post 21634016)
The law on tax returns says that the congressional committees can look at anybody's tax return, not anybody except someone with an "r" in their name.

And when it has been found by the courts that the law does, in fact say that, and is constitutional, then they can see the tax return. Which would mean the Supreme Court going against its own precedent, and (sadly) more importantly going against its partisan bias.

There's a strong implication from people in this thread that Trump should be subject to an illegal or unconstitutional investigation because he's dangerous and evil. That's not a great precedent to set.

iiandyiiii 05-09-2019 05:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steophan (Post 21634058)
And when it has been found by the courts that the law does, in fact say that, and is constitutional, then they can see the tax return. Which would mean the Supreme Court going against its own precedent, and (sadly) more importantly going against its partisan bias.

What precedent? SCOTUS has never denied the use of this Congressional power, as far as I can tell.

Quote:

There's a strong implication from people in this thread that Trump should be subject to an illegal or unconstitutional investigation because he's dangerous and evil. That's not a great precedent to set.
I see no such implication. I see a lot of implication that Congress should investigate possible wrongdoing by the President and his administration, which is about as common and precedented as passing bills in Congress.

steronz 05-09-2019 05:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steophan (Post 21634058)
There's a strong implication from people in this thread that Trump should be subject to an illegal or unconstitutional investigation because he's dangerous and evil. That's not a great precedent to set.

There you go being super confident again. Remember our exchange from a few posts up where you admitted you shouldn't do that?

Translucent Daydream 05-09-2019 05:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steophan (Post 21634058)
And when it has been found by the courts that the law does, in fact say that, and is constitutional, then they can see the tax return. Which would mean the Supreme Court going against its own precedent, and (sadly) more importantly going against its partisan bias.

There's a strong implication from people in this thread that Trump should be subject to an illegal or unconstitutional investigation because he's dangerous and evil. That's not a great precedent to set.

Dude what? Since when is it okay to just disobey a law? Oh wait, never mind.

Budget Player Cadet 05-09-2019 07:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steophan (Post 21633798)
My opinion, ultimately, is that Congress should not be investigating allegations of crimes

Your opinion is bad and should be disregarded. Please look into civics 101.

Again, this is one of those baffling "so wrong it drives me to drink" statements. There seem to be an awful lot of those flying around with regards to Trump. Wonder why.

bobot 05-09-2019 07:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steophan (Post 21634058)
...
There's a strong implication from people in this thread that Trump should be subject to an illegal or unconstitutional investigation because he's dangerous and evil. ...

No there isn't. Right now Trump and those in his sway are obstructing a legal and constitutional investigation. And further, by refusing the tax information, actively breaking the law. There's the illegal part.

Steophan 05-09-2019 07:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by iiandyiiii (Post 21634060)
What precedent? SCOTUS has never denied the use of this Congressional power, as far as I can tell.

The cite from a lawyer I've provided say otherwise, as does the opinion from the DOJ. Congress is not supposed to investigate crimes, it is supposed to use its powers of investigation for legislative purposes. As a general rule, it is not the business of the legislature whether people are following the laws it makes, that's the business of the executive and judiciary.

Really, there are two things that can happen now. Either the IRS supplies Trump's tax returns, hets sued by Trump, and the Supremes eventually decide whether it was legal, or they don't, and the Supremes eventually decide whether they have to. The best solution for the IRS is to not provide them until the matter is decided, as if they do provide them and it turns out to have been illegal, that can't then be reversed.

Steophan 05-09-2019 07:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Budget Player Cadet (Post 21634207)
Your opinion is bad and should be disregarded. Please look into civics 101.

Again, this is one of those baffling "so wrong it drives me to drink" statements. There seem to be an awful lot of those flying around with regards to Trump. Wonder why.

So, a Supreme Court ruling that Congress should not be investigating crimes is "so wrong it drives you to drink"? That ruling has stood for over 100 years, so it's not a recent partisan ruling.

Steophan 05-09-2019 07:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Translucent Daydream (Post 21634069)
Dude what? Since when is it okay to just disobey a law? Oh wait, never mind.

Quote:

Originally Posted by bobot (Post 21634225)
No there isn't. Right now Trump and those in his sway are obstructing a legal and constitutional investigation. And further, by refusing the tax information, actively breaking the law. There's the illegal part.

Mueller's investigation was legal and constitutional. Congress's, well, that's a different matter. The DOJ have said it would be illegal for the IRS to comply with the demand for the tax returns, and there's Supreme Court rulings that Congress should not investigate allegations of criminality, and should only use their investigative powers for legislative purposes.

So why is OK for congress to disobey the law? Because you don't like Trump? If you actually believe that, you're as bad as him.

iiandyiiii 05-09-2019 07:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steophan (Post 21634265)
The cite from a lawyer I've provided say otherwise, as does the opinion from the DOJ. Congress is not supposed to investigate crimes, it is supposed to use its powers of investigation for legislative purposes. As a general rule, it is not the business of the legislature whether people are following the laws it makes, that's the business of the executive and judiciary.



Really, there are two things that can happen now. Either the IRS supplies Trump's tax returns, hets sued by Trump, and the Supremes eventually decide whether it was legal, or they don't, and the Supremes eventually decide whether they have to. The best solution for the IRS is to not provide them until the matter is decided, as if they do provide them and it turns out to have been illegal, that can't then be reversed.

The last several decades show that what the congress is doing in entirely normal and well within their duties. Seriously - were you unaware that every recent president had had investigations by congress? None of those investigations were stopped by any court.

Ravenman 05-09-2019 07:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steophan (Post 21634265)
As a general rule, it is not the business of the legislature whether people are following the laws it makes, that's the business of the executive and judiciary.

Where did you get such nonsense? I mean seriously, what the hell are you talking about?

Congress has held investigations of Trump’s collusion with Russia, Benghazi, gunwalking, a blowjob and coverup, Iran Contra, Watergate, and so much more. You’re clearly living on some other planet.

Steophan 05-09-2019 08:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by steronz (Post 21634066)
There you go being super confident again. Remember our exchange from a few posts up where you admitted you shouldn't do that?

When I see anyone here saying that, if the congressional investigation turns out to be illegal and/or unconstitutional as both the DOJ and some lawyers are saying, it should be stopped, then I'll accept that they don't want an illegal and unconstitutional investigation.

Alternatively, have the fucking balls to say that you want Trump gone by any means that people can get away with, and that you're prepared to accept the damage to your institutions that will cause. But don't just say it can't possibly be illegal because... well, actually, no-one's yet given a "because".

Steophan 05-09-2019 08:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ravenman (Post 21634280)
Where did you get such nonsense?

Supreme Court rulings, laws, customs, precedents, articles by lawyers, all the stuff I've cited.

Where do you get yours from?

Steophan 05-09-2019 08:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by iiandyiiii (Post 21634277)
The last several decades show that what the congress is doing in entirely normal and well within their duties. Seriously - were you unaware that every recent president had had investigations by congress? None of those investigations were stopped by any court.

I suppose the current Congressional investigation is as justified as the investigations into Obama's ancestry or Clinton's debauchery. The stupid thing is, if the House had framed this as an impechment rather than criminal investigation, these questions wouldn't have arisen, but they have emphatically said it isn't. So, they need a legitimate legislative purpose for seeing his tax returns. What is it?

steronz 05-09-2019 08:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steophan (Post 21634283)
When I see anyone here saying that, if the congressional investigation turns out to be illegal and/or unconstitutional as both the DOJ and some lawyers are saying, it should be stopped, then I'll accept that they don't want an illegal and unconstitutional investigation.

Alternatively, have the fucking balls to say that you want Trump gone by any means that people can get away with, and that you're prepared to accept the damage to your institutions that will cause. But don't just say it can't possibly be illegal because... well, actually, no-one's yet given a "because".


This is a sovereign citizen level of cognitive dissonance, I'm not sure how to respond. I'm out.

bobot 05-09-2019 08:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steophan (Post 21634276)
Mueller's investigation was legal and constitutional. Congress's, well, that's a different matter. ...

No,it isn't a different matter. It is clearly constitutional, justified, warranted, and necessary.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steophan (Post 21634276)
...If you actually believe that, you're as bad as him.

We're not in the pit? OK. Then, Bless Your Heart.

HMS Irruncible 05-09-2019 09:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steophan (Post 21632794)
That's what one side claim. The other side claim that the law does not allow that demand, and the side that make the latter claim is the Department of Justice. This will probably end up in the Supreme Court in a few years, and that Court will probably side with the DOJ.

According to the Revenue Act of 1924, Congress is authorized to request anyone's tax returns for investigative or legislative purposes. Granted SCOTUS is thoroughly tilted and politicized now, but it would be very surprising if they decided they just didn't like this law anymore.

Ravenman 05-09-2019 09:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steophan (Post 21634285)
Supreme Court rulings, laws, customs, precedents, articles by lawyers, all the stuff I've cited.

Where do you get yours from?

Non-imaginary sources.

Projammer 05-09-2019 09:26 PM

I've viewed the whole Trump tax thing with the same "Meh, whatever" attitude I took regarding Obama's birth certificate/college transcript/"documentation" noise.

But out of curiosity, what is everyone hoping to find documented in it if it ever is released?

If anyone is starting a pool, I'm betting it winds up another veggie burger like the Mueller report. Not completely nothing, but certainly no meat.

str8cashhomie 05-09-2019 11:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Projammer (Post 21634398)
I've viewed the whole Trump tax thing with the same "Meh, whatever" attitude I took regarding Obama's birth certificate/college transcript/"documentation" noise.

But out of curiosity, what is everyone hoping to find documented in it if it ever is released?

If anyone is starting a pool, I'm betting it winds up another veggie burger like the Mueller report. Not completely nothing, but certainly no meat.

This is a completely nonsensical comparison, because we already have evidence of Trump committing crimes. It's spelled out in the Mueller report. His tax returns could turn up nothing interesting, or they could turn up embarrassing material about ethically questionable tax avoidance or business dealings, or it could turn up actual evidence for criminal conduct - any would be relevant to the public.

Ashtura 05-10-2019 12:58 AM

Does anyone actually believe the IRS has not specifically examined his taxes? While I'm sure there is something in there he doesn't want people to see, I strongly doubt criminal activity is going to be highlighted in there, if for no other reason than it would take an idiotic tax preparer to include criminal activity in a tax return. I know his "hiring only the best" is a joke, but his accountants probably ARE among the best.

iiandyiiii 05-10-2019 04:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steophan (Post 21634299)
I suppose the current Congressional investigation is as justified as the investigations into Obama's ancestry or Clinton's debauchery. The stupid thing is, if the House had framed this as an impechment rather than criminal investigation, these questions wouldn't have arisen, but they have emphatically said it isn't. So, they need a legitimate legislative purpose for seeing his tax returns. What is it?

They have a Constitutional mandate for oversight. And there's tons of precedent -- Congress investigated the last several presidents and their administrations on many, many different fronts (much more than "ancestry" and "debauchery"). In this case, their justification is to evaluate the effectiveness/fairness of IRS audits into sitting presidents. That's a legitimate oversight purpose -- the IRS is part of the executive branch.

What's happening now in terms of Congressional investigations is not unusual in the least. This is mundane, standard stuff.

Gyrate 05-10-2019 04:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Projammer (Post 21634398)
I've viewed the whole Trump tax thing with the same "Meh, whatever" attitude I took regarding Obama's birth certificate/college transcript/"documentation" noise.

But out of curiosity, what is everyone hoping to find documented in it if it ever is released?

If anyone is starting a pool, I'm betting it winds up another veggie burger like the Mueller report. Not completely nothing, but certainly no meat.

"Hoping"? I dunno. But his own lawyer testified under oath that Trump's tax returns contain shady practices, which is sufficient justification for Congress to request and review them for potential tax fraud. The fact that Trump has so adamantly refused to release them (particularly after promising to do so) merely adds to the likelihood that he has something to hide.

Justy5 05-10-2019 05:54 AM

He is a rich White man. They will let a White man play with the system and Constitution. Everyone else - pull out the shackles and jail time. They've been getting away with shit since they stole this country from the Spanish and Indians. It's been the American tradition for years.

Steophan 05-10-2019 07:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by iiandyiiii (Post 21634701)
What's happening now in terms of Congressional investigations is not unusual in the least. This is mundane, standard stuff.

Well, we shall find out if that's true as it goes through the courts. Maybe the Supreme Court will rule that way. I rather doubt it, and I suspect that the House will find its right to investigate anything significantly limited as a result of this, because the Court will both uphold its precedents and create further restrictions, due to its partisan bias.

The original question in this thread was " Why does Congress pussyfoot around with Trump's taxes?" This is why, because if they overstep their clear legal rights even slightly, they will get absolutely hammered due to the current makeup of the Supreme Court.

iiandyiiii 05-10-2019 07:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steophan (Post 21634798)
Well, we shall find out if that's true as it goes through the courts. Maybe the Supreme Court will rule that way. I rather doubt it, and I suspect that the House will find its right to investigate anything significantly limited as a result of this, because the Court will both uphold its precedents and create further restrictions, due to its partisan bias.

I think there's a possibility that Congress won't get the tax returns. But how on Earth would SCOTUS restrict their ability to investigate? I don't believe that has ever happened before. Talk about unprecedented! Calling witnesses, requesting documents, and holding hearings has been part of Congress's routine since the very beginning.

Akaj 05-10-2019 02:20 PM

Just curious ... during the 276 investigations of Benghazi, how many times was the prospect of impeaching Secretary Clinton raised? I mean, it must have been a lot, otherwise those investigations were completely illegal. :smack:

John Bredin 05-10-2019 02:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Projammer (Post 21634398)
If anyone is starting a pool, I'm betting it winds up another veggie burger like the Mueller report. Not completely nothing, but certainly no meat.

:rolleyes: The Mueller report isn't a veggie burger but a fish sandwich during Lent: plenty of meat as that word is normally defined, except the Church* has declared it not meat.

*In this analogy, the DOJ doctrine that it will not charge a sitting President with crimes. Cite. Cite.

Moriarty 05-10-2019 03:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steophan (Post 21634798)
Well, we shall find out if that's true as it goes through the courts. Maybe the Supreme Court will rule that way. I rather doubt it, and I suspect that the House will find its right to investigate anything significantly limited as a result of this, because the Court will both uphold its precedents and create further restrictions, due to its partisan bias.

The original question in this thread was " Why does Congress pussyfoot around with Trump's taxes?" This is why, because if they overstep their clear legal rights even slightly, they will get absolutely hammered due to the current makeup of the Supreme Court.

As others have said, this is weak. Very weak.

Yes, you found a link where a lawyer makes a 'plausible' argument that Congress is not entitled to the tax returns; he even cites law. But it is not a winning argument. Yes, it is enough to get the case into the courts, and up to the Supreme Court. But the issue is hardly as contentious as you claim, and the Supremes would be ridiculous if they denied the right to obtain the tax returns.

Now, why is it such a weak argument? As others have stated, the power of Congress to investigate is pretty wide-ranging, and the need for a legit legislative purpose is a very low bar to get past. Do you recall congress holding hearings on steroids in baseball? Yeah, that went to the issue of baseball's antitrust exemption. It's pretty easy to show a legislative reason.

Moreover, the cases your article cites don't really serve to undermine this position.

Kilbourn v. Thompson, from the 1880s, was a case where a company was indebted to the US government, went into bankruptcy, and settled its debts at a loss to the government. Congress held hearings to investigate the bankruptcy. When a witness refused to testify about the decision, he was arrested by the Sargent-at-Arms and put in jail for 45 days. He sued for false imprisonment.

The court ruled that while Congress has the power to punish its own members, it does not have the power to punish private citizens. Thus, contempt should have been referred to prosecutors for punishment. More broadly, a dispute over money is resolved in the courts.

Quote:

Originally Posted by the case
If the United States is a creditor of any citizen, or of any one else on whom process can be served, the usual, the only legal mode of enforcing payment of the debt is by a resort to a court of justice. For this purpose, among others, Congress has created courts of the United States, and officers have been appointed to prosecute the pleas of the government in these courts...

The resolution of the House of Representatives authorizing the investigation was in excess of the power conferred on that body by the Constitution; that the committee, therefore, had no lawful authority to require Kilbourn to testify as a witness beyond what he voluntarily chose to tell; that the orders and resolutions of the House, and the warrant of the speaker, under which Kilbourn was imprisoned, are, in like manner, void for want of jurisdiction in that body, and that his imprisonment was without any lawful authority.

Most importantly, though, in distinguishing this case from the issue of the President of the United States, the IRS, and the effective regulation of taxes - which is to say, legislative purposes - is this little nugget:

Quote:

Was it a corporation whose powers Congress could repeal? There is no suggestion of the kind. The word ‘pool,’ in the sense here used, is of modern date, and may not be well understood, but in this case it can mean no more than that certain individuals are engaged in dealing in real estate as a commodity of traffic; and the gravamen of the whole proceeding is that a debtor of the United States may be found to have an interest in the pool. Can the rights of the pool, or of its members, and the rights of the debtor, and of the creditor of the debtor, be determined by the report of a committee or by an act of Congress? If they connot, what authority has the House to enter upon this investigation into the private affairs of individuals who hold no office under the government.
In other words, Kilbourn says that congress can't conduct its own trials. This is a far different thing than investigating issues over which the Congress can pass laws. And it is plainly distinguishable from congress' inherent power to investigate people who hold office (such as, I don't know, the President).

The other case you (or, rather, the article you found) relies on is a 1950's case called Watkins v. U.S. which sought to limit the abuses of the Red Scare. But in so doing it laid out some basic fundamentals, which you're refusing to acknowledge

Quote:

Originally Posted by 1950's case
We start with several basic premises on which there is general agreement. The power of the Congress to conduct investigations is inherent in the legislative process. That power is broad. It encompasses inquiries concerning the administration of existing laws as well as proposed or possibly needed statutes. It includes surveys of defects in our social, economic or political system for the purpose of enabling the Congress to remedy them. It comprehends probes into departments of the Federal Government to expose corruption, inefficiency or waste.

Yet again, though, the court was concerned about congress' power to punish those who did not cooperate with its investigations. In making this analysis, it refers back to the earlier Kilbourn case. In so doing, does it represent nuance? Does it bend the 'precedent' you seem to believe that the court is bound by? Let's see...

Quote:

Subsequent to the decision in Kilbourn, until recent times, there were very few cases dealing with the investigative power.25 The matter came to the fore again when the Senate undertook to study the corruption in the handling of oil leases in the 1920's. In McGrain v. Daugherty, 273 U.S. 135, 47 S.Ct. 319, 71 L.Ed. 580, and Sinclair v. United States, 279 U.S. 263, 49 S.Ct. 268, 73 L.Ed. 692, the Court applied the precepts of Kilbourn to uphold the authority of the Congress to conduct the challenged investigations. The Court recognized the danger to effective and honest conduct of the Government if the legislature's power to probe corruption in the executive branch were unduly hampered.
So, yeah, the court does draw a line. But it's not where you think it is.

Quote:

Kilbourn v. Thompson teaches that such an investigation into individual affairs is invalid if unrelated to any legislative purpose.
Ultimately, the court was careful to not second guess the congress - if they say that they have a legit legislative purpose, then they do. But what they will require are procedural safeguards akin to a court hearing when compelling testimony (e.g. right to a lawyer, right to remain silent).

Quote:

The conclusions we have reached in this case will not prevent the Congress, through its committees, from obtaining any information it needs for the proper fulfillment of its role in our scheme of government. The legislature is free to determine the kinds of data that should be collected. It is only those investigations that are conducted by use of compulsory process that give rise to a need to protect the rights of individuals against illegal encroachment. That protection can be readily achieved through procedures which prevent the separation of power from responsibility and which provide the constitutional requisites of fairness for witnesses. A measure of added care on the part of the House and the Senate in authorizing the use of compulsory process and by their committees in exercising that power would suffice. That is a small price to pay if it serves to uphold the principles of limited, constitutional government without constricting the power of the Congress to inform itself.
So I laugh at your confident claim that the law compelling disclosure of Trump's taxes is obviously improper or unlawful, or that the courts are hamstrung and will be compelled to deny this request as obviously unconstitutional. Nothing of the sort is reasonable.

HMS Irruncible 05-10-2019 03:44 PM

It seems like Trump's taxes vis-a-vis emoluments concerns are a prima facie case of sound legislative purpose. The House could probably fight it in court. Would the House maybe find it easier to just introduce some bill relating to presidential tax returns, and use that as the pretext? It wouldn't even need to be voted or debated.

Sherrerd 05-10-2019 04:39 PM

Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney walked right into this one: He claimed in an interview that the Democrats are asking for Trump's returns "to make the president look bad."

Asked the obvious follow-up question "what's embarrassing about his tax records?" Mulvaney was a deer in headlights:

Quote:

GARRETT: What’s embarrassing about his tax records?
MULVANEY: That’s what they want to know.
GARRETT: But what is it?
MULVANEY: I don’t know because I’ve never seen
GARRETT: Is there something embarrassing about his tax records?
MULVANEY: I have no idea and I don’t care.

...the White House’s acting chief of staff is convinced that the effort to obtain Trump’s tax returns is intended to “embarrass the president,” which naturally leads one to wonder why Trump would be embarrassed by his tax returns.

Mulvaney apparently didn’t see this line of inquiry coming, so he was left in an awkward spot: Democrats are trying to embarrass Trump, but his chief of staff has no idea why Trump would be embarrassed by his own tax materials. ...
http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-s...is-tax-returns

Guess it's back to the drawing board for GOP theories on why the Democrats are requesting to see those Trump tax records....

Skywatcher 05-10-2019 05:06 PM

Trump does not have the capacity for embarrassment, anyway.

Sherrerd 05-10-2019 05:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Skywatcher (Post 21635994)
Trump does not have the capacity for embarrassment, anyway.

It's a question of semantics, perhaps. It's certainly true that he has no shame whatsoever.

He doesn't like to have people saying less-than-admiring things about him, though. It clearly bothers him.

Nars Glinley 05-10-2019 06:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chronos (Post 21632985)
And only one side is saying something that is consistent with what the law actually says. Just because you don't like a law, doesn't mean that you get to pretend that it doesn't exist. Laws don't work that way.

Challenging a law in court is exactly not pretending that it doesn't exist.

Steophan 05-10-2019 09:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by iiandyiiii (Post 21634808)
But how on Earth would SCOTUS restrict their ability to investigate? I don't believe that has ever happened before.

Well, I've cited them doing so, so unless those articles I linked to are full of lies then you have no reason not to believe that.

How they do it is that someone sues, claiming that Congress is illegally or unconstitutionally investigating them, the case gets to the Supreme Court, which then rules that the investigation is unlawful/unconstitutional. As they did in response to HUAC, eventually.

Maybe this won't happen. Maybe the judges Trump chose will find that the investiagtions can continue.

Steophan 05-10-2019 09:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Moriarty (Post 21635838)
So I laugh at your confident claim that the law compelling disclosure of Trump's taxes is obviously improper or unlawful, or that the courts are hamstrung and will be compelled to deny this request as obviously unconstitutional. Nothing of the sort is reasonable.

So, you think the Supreme Court, including Trump's chosen judges, will decide that way? The point is that there is precedent that will give them a fig leaf to cover their decision in Trump's favour.

Moriarty 05-10-2019 10:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steophan (Post 21636353)
How they do it is that someone sues, claiming that Congress is illegally or unconstitutionally investigating them, the case gets to the Supreme Court, which then rules that the investigation is unlawful/unconstitutional. As they did in response to HUAC, eventually.

This is factually incorrect. The court never ruled that HUAC was unconstitutional - it persisted into the 1970’s. Did you read my post? The court ruled that people are entitled to an attorney and the right to plead the 5th when subpoenaed by congress. Under no circumstances did the court shut down the committee or its investigation power.

Moriarty 05-10-2019 10:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steophan (Post 21636363)
So, you think the Supreme Court, including Trump's chosen judges, will decide that way? The point is that there is precedent that will give them a fig leaf to cover their decision in Trump's favour.

Only 5 votes are needed. There are 4 liberals (Kagan, Sotomayor, Ginsburg, and Breyer) and John Roberts. Remember him? He upheld the ACA because he cares about the legitimacy of the Supreme Court.

Precedent has gone out of its way to affirm the power of congress to conduct investigations of office holders and to research issues over which it might regulate. The House has the power to pass laws regarding spending - you can’t plausibly argue that they don’t have the ability to investigate taxes and the activities of the IRS with regard to the President, especially given testimony concerning his tax impropriety (to say nothing of Trump’s own statements on his shady finances).

China Guy 05-11-2019 01:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ashtura (Post 21634613)
Does anyone actually believe the IRS has not specifically examined his taxes? While I'm sure there is something in there he doesn't want people to see, I strongly doubt criminal activity is going to be highlighted in there, if for no other reason than it would take an idiotic tax preparer to include criminal activity in a tax return.

If Trump or Trump Inc has had substantial business dealings with Russian oligarchs (or other foreign parties), even if 100% in compliance with US tax codes as interpreted by the IRS, don't you think the American people should know that? It may not be illegal but the President should not be sucking at Russian teat.

The Muller report reaffirmed what all of America's counter intelligence agencies have been saying, and that is the Russians actively interfered in the US elections process. Why the Republicans suddenly think that it's ok to let this slide (looking at you Mitch McConnel) is beyond my understanding, even in the current politicized society we are in.

iiandyiiii 05-11-2019 05:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steophan (Post 21636353)
Well, I've cited them doing so, so unless those articles I linked to are full of lies then you have no reason not to believe that.



How they do it is that someone sues, claiming that Congress is illegally or unconstitutionally investigating them, the case gets to the Supreme Court, which then rules that the investigation is unlawful/unconstitutional. As they did in response to HUAC, eventually.



Maybe this won't happen. Maybe the judges Trump chose will find that the investiagtions can continue.

This didn't happen. SCOTUS did not take away congress's ability to investigate anything. You are factually incorrect on this.

Steophan 05-11-2019 05:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by iiandyiiii (Post 21636625)
This didn't happen. SCOTUS did not take away congress's ability to investigate anything. You are factually incorrect on this.

It's rather silly of you to say that when I've provided cites to show that I'm right. They on at least two occasions, that I've cited, limited Congress's right to investigate, once to only investigate where there's legitimate legislative interest, and once to not act as a law enforcement agency.

Unless your point is that Congress may still have the ability to investigate these things, but not the right. In which case, I'd say that that's exactly what Trump has been doing, and not something to be emulated.

Apart from that, I'm surprised how many people here want Congress to usurp the role of law enforcement, given how often those people (including you) have noted the dangers of directly elected law enforcement - see Joe Arpaio, for one. Surely it can't be that it's fine if your side does it?

iiandyiiii 05-11-2019 05:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steophan (Post 21637299)
It's rather silly of you to say that when I've provided cites to show that I'm right. They on at least two occasions, that I've cited, limited Congress's right to investigate, once to only investigate where there's legitimate legislative interest, and once to not act as a law enforcement agency.

Unless your point is that Congress may still have the ability to investigate these things, but not the right. In which case, I'd say that that's exactly what Trump has been doing, and not something to be emulated.

Apart from that, I'm surprised how many people here want Congress to usurp the role of law enforcement, given how often those people (including you) have noted the dangers of directly elected law enforcement - see Joe Arpaio, for one. Surely it can't be that it's fine if your side does it?

SCOTUS did nothing to "limit Congress's right to investigate". This is factually false. Your cites show nothing of the sort.

Ravenman 05-11-2019 07:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steophan (Post 21637299)
Apart from that, I'm surprised how many people here want Congress to usurp the role of law enforcement, given how often those people (including you) have noted the dangers of directly elected law enforcement - see Joe Arpaio, for one. Surely it can't be that it's fine if your side does it?

But Congress isn’t usurping a law enforcement function. As Woodrow Wilson famously wrote, “The informing function of Congress should be preferred even to its legislative function.”

You’re off on some weird tilting at windmills take on this issue. Waaaaay off in left field. I barely understand any basis for your concern.

Moriarty 05-11-2019 09:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steophan (Post 21637299)
It's rather silly of you to say that when I've provided cites to show that I'm right. They on at least two occasions, that I've cited, limited Congress's right to investigate, once to only investigate where there's legitimate legislative interest, and once to not act as a law enforcement agency.

Under the holdings you’re referencing, congress is merely obligated to state a legit legislative interest. (“The proper functioning of the IRS”, “Proper IRS oversight of the President”, “tax laws in the U.S.”. Or, how about, “corruption in the Executive Branch”, which has been specifically affirmed as a proper congressional function? Easy and done). And they have to refer anybody they hold in contempt to the justice department for prosecution (Now, that creates a problem when somebody like the AG is the one in contempt - he won’t be prosecuted. And, yes, that’s where impeachment (the only law enforcement power of the congress) comes in).

But this is doesn’t impact whether they can request tax returns pursuant to a law giving them that power, especially when the law is derived directly from their power of oversight over the Executive branch. This is PLAINLY constitutional.

Quote:

Apart from that, I'm surprised how many people here want Congress to usurp the role of law enforcement, given how often those people (including you) have noted the dangers of directly elected law enforcement - see Joe Arpaio, for one. Surely it can't be that it's fine if your side does it?
How is congress playing a law enforcement role? They would have to refer any prosecution for tax fraud to prosecutors for battle in the courts; this is an investigation/oversight role that congress is fulfilling.

Irishman 05-14-2019 01:00 PM

It will be interesting to see if the conservative constitutional constructionists on the Supreme Court will adjudicate on the words of the laws or by some political affiliation to Trump.


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