Journalism has sunk to a new low when they resort to open criminal activity to get a story against someone they oppose politically. MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow has announced that she has obtained President Trump’s 2005 tax returns from an investigative journalist named David Cay Johnson. The White pre-empted her by announcing that Trump made $150 million in 2005 and paid $38 million in income tax. To Maddow, Johnson and the person (s) who provided this to them, congratulations. I hope the story is worth it.
It is illegal for the IRS to divulge someone’s tax returns except under restricted conditions. Let me give you an example: When I was a DEA agent working in Pittsburgh, I worked a long-term case with the IRS Criminal Investigative Decision. It concerned a group of Lebanese heroin smugglers. During the course of that investigation, there was one piece of investigative material I was unable to obtain from my colleagues in the IRS: That was the suspects’ tax returns. Had they provided that to me, we would have been guilty of a crime.
But what about the media? Here is the law and counter-arguments.
I note that Mr Johnson says that he found the returns in his mailbox from an unknown sender. Hmmm. That is just like the NY Times reporter who found Trump’s 1995 return in his mailbox from an unknown sender last year. How convenient.
As I am writing this, I am watching Maddow and Johnson discussing this on the air. Maddow has shown the return to her viewers. They are saying that Trump got tax breaks. Gee. Are you angry that Trump made $150 million and paid $38 million in taxes? This is pure media sleaze. Do you think they would have done this with the Clinton’s and their corrupt foundation? I don’t think so.
Isn’t it amazing the lengths that the media is willing to go to to destroy Trump? Do they have a First Amendment right to publish said information as long as they didn’t “solicit” it, get it directly from an IRS employee or don’t know who “left it in their mailbox”? I think we are about to find out.
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