If Trump wanted his tax returns to remain private, then he should not have run for public office. So many men want to be private figures and public officials at the same time, opportunistically claiming one role or another as it suits them.
Small-town Whitewater has had a problem like this for years: tiny notables claim to avoid conflicts because, as they shuttle from public to private and back again, they’re wearing ‘different hats.’
The deeper problem for these few men is that all those hats sit on the same weak heads.
These local versions of wheeler-dealers should, at a minimum, be required to submit financial disclosure statements. This requirement should apply even if they were truly talented; as it is they have a talent mainly for unjustified self-promotion.
As for Trump, Susanne Craig and Jesse Drucker report on Donald Trump’s Tax Returns: What We Might Learn:
Mr. Trump is the first president in four decades to not publicly release his tax returns. The refusal — coupled with his continued ownership of a far-flung network of closely held businesses — has fanned suspicions that he has something to hide.
For starters, his recent returns could illuminate the sources of his income and any tax-avoidance strategies he may have used, but it would not fully decode the family’s personal and business finances.
Leaked pages of the president’s old tax returns and other financial documents already have shed light on his finances. They indicate that Mr. Trump most likely avoided paying income taxes for a number of years and that in other periods The New York Times found he participated in fraudulent tax schemes to minimize his tax bill. His federal ethics filings show hundreds of millions of dollars in outstanding loans and a business network owned through a web of corporate entities.
The House Ways and Means Committee last week requested six years of Mr. Trump’s personal tax returns, along with the returns filed by one of his trusts and seven subsidiaries he controls. They also asked for records of any audits.
The returns would partly reveal the sources of the president’s income, and whether his businesses are profitable. They would show how much, if anything, Mr. Trump has been paying in taxes and might show whether he has been aggressive in reducing his tax bills. They will show whether Mr. Trump has personally donated to charity.