White House counselor Kellyanne Conway‘s attorney husband George Conway is thanking his nemesis President Donald Trump on Wednesday for tweet-gifting the House of Representatives a “legitimate legislative purpose” in pursuing his tax returns.
Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee tried to get their hands on President Trump’s tax returns and were rejected by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, but while we were still digesting that news the New York Times managed to get a hold of 10 years of Trump’s tax information. The Times noted on Tuesday that Trump reported losing more than $1 billion between 1985 and 1994. Trump “lost so much money that he was able to avoid paying income taxes for eight of the 10 years,” the report said.
Needless to say, Trump was not about to let a Times story about his money go unanswered.
Real estate developers in the 1980’s & 1990’s, more than 30 years ago, were entitled to massive write offs and depreciation which would, if one was actively building, show losses and tax losses in almost all cases. Much was non monetary. Sometimes considered “tax shelter,” you would get it by building, or even buying. You always wanted to show losses for tax purposes….almost all real estate developers did – and often re-negotiate with banks, it was sport. Additionally, the very old information put out is a highly inaccurate Fake News hit job!
The president appeared to admit that something was done while denying something was done, causing lolz and confusion on social media.
LOL at the argument in the alternative at the end: “I’m proud I did it, everyone did it— oh, and the claims I did it are false.” https://t.co/IRcqfPSMDG
— Orin Kerr (@OrinKerr) May 8, 2019
So the takeaway is, “this was done all the time back in the day and also it totally never happened”? pic.twitter.com/PpgvEAWuXk
— Daniel W. Drezner (@dandrezner) May 8, 2019
But the president’s tweets also elicited serious responses from tax-focused law professors like Daniel Hemel, Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Chicago. Hemel said that anyone doubting that House Democrats have a legitimate reason to demand Trump’s tax returns should think again.
The President is pretty much saying that he used transactions w/out economic substance to inflate basis, overstate depreciation, and bilk the IRS. If anyone doubted whether House Ways & Means had a compelling oversight reason to see Trump’s tax returns, here you go https://t.co/A7DkMVYvc3
— Daniel Hemel (@DanielJHemel) May 8, 2019
His tweets, when combined:
The President is pretty much saying that he used transactions w/out economic substance to inflate basis, overstate depreciation, and bilk the IRS. If anyone doubted whether House Ways & Means had a compelling oversight reason to see Trump’s tax returns, here you go & just to be clear: Real estate developers were not “entitled” to massive writeoffs. They claimed massive writeoffs, & the IRS fought these substance-less claims in a decades-long game of whack-a-mole.
Orin Kerr, a law professor at the USC Gould School of Law, went so far as to ask, “Does he know tax fraud is illegal.”
Does he know tax fraud is illegal https://t.co/IRcqfPSMDG
— Orin Kerr (@OrinKerr) May 8, 2019
George Conway kept it pretty simple from there.
Exactly. Here’s your legitimate legislative purpose, not that several didn’t already exist. Thank you, Mr. President. https://t.co/abpdmxiEFe
— George Conway (@gtconway3d) May 8, 2019
“Exactly,” he said, “Here’s your legitimate legislative purpose, not that several didn’t already exist.”
“Thank you, Mr. President,” Conway added.
It’s merely the latest jab from Conway in an endless slugfest between him and his wife’s boss.
[Image via Alex Wong/Getty Images]