Are House Democrats right to release Trump's tax returns?

The sharpest opinions on the debate from around the web

A donkey.
(Image credit: Illustrated | Getty Images)

The Democrat-led House Ways and Means Committee voted this week to release several years of former President Donald Trump's tax returns. Republicans called the move a partisan cheap shot that violated Washington norms, and would only result in retaliation against President Biden and other Democrats. But Democrats on the committee said releasing the records served the public interest. "This was never about being punitive. It was never about being malicious," said Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), the committee's chair.

The documents indicated that Trump paid $1.1 million in federal income taxes in his first three years as president, but none in 2020 as his losses mounted, according to tax data the committee released. The congressional Joint Committee on Taxation reported that the documents contained a lot of red flags that should have triggered an audit, including dubious private jet expenses, unsubstantiated charitable deductions, and evidence of sketchy "loans" to Trump's eldest children — Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Eric Trump — that looked like "disguised gifts" to evade gift taxes. Is releasing Trump's taxes necessary for accountability, or an unwarranted swipe at a political enemy?

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Harold Maass, The Week US

Harold Maass is a contributing editor at The Week. He has been writing for The Week since the 2001 debut of the U.S. print edition and served as editor of when it launched in 2008. Harold started his career as a newspaper reporter in South Florida and Haiti. He has previously worked for a variety of news outlets, including The Miami Herald, ABC News and Fox News, and for several years wrote a daily roundup of financial news for The Week and Yahoo Finance.