Search the Lounge


« Oregon Law Dean Announcement | Main | Using Cognitive Psychology to Improve Student Performance, Part Three: Spaced Repetition. »

October 11, 2016


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Honestly, from a purely legal standpoint, publicly releasing tax returns incurs risk, so it's not wrong. Of course, from a political/moral/philosophical standpoint, it is more questionable. One of the most important things a lawyer should tell his or her clients is "I am giving you advice about what's best legally; that might not always be the best decision when it comes to money or morality."

J. Bogart

What is the risk of publicly releasing tax returns, at least connected to an audit?

Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance King

I was once retained by a client facing accusations of predatory criminal sexual abuse of a minor. Police detectives wanted to get his statement. I gave my client the exact same advice.


While I don't understand Donald's attorney's advice about releasing tax returns, waiving the attorney-client privilege while under audit is a terrible idea. There is no partial waiver - once it's gone, it's gone for good.


"What is the risk of publicly releasing tax returns, at least connected to an audit?"

For most people? There is little risk. For a man like Trump who has been the target of thousands of lawsuits, has been involved in shady business dealings, and is running for president, there could be plenty more.

The tax returns might contradict sworn statements in other civil cases about where money went to, it might reveal double dealing in business transactions, it might catch the attention of federal or state authorities as to possible avenues of investigation in relation to prohibited transactions, it might cast doubt on his FEC filings, or it might cause a sharp-eyed plaintiff's attorney to notice a possible tax code violation that might have a parallel civil cause of action. Even if any one of these things are unlikely, there is no benefit from a legal standpoint to release them.



Or, it might attract the vapid, mindless attack machine, which is poised to go into full attack, whether justified or not.

For example, the zealots who hypocritically contend that taking lawful deductions deprives first responders, teachers, minorities and yes, yes, the CHILDREN, the helpless, innocent babies of America, of their very means of their meager subsidence.

Those in the bubble think this sort of demagoguery is just fine (while happily and greedily taking their own deductions). The stench the moralizing and holier than thou saints who claim such moral superiority give off is unmistakable.

That stench has now permeated a "news" media incapable of reporting "news": instead, hour after hour, they engage in unanswered political attacks on the persona of Trump. This is preparing us for the time when "news" as objective reporting of facts will be as unknown as journalistic objectivity.

Of course, Trump presents an easy target. Why is that only so now? Where were all the pompous posturers, pounding their chests and whipping themselves into foaming outrage, during the primaries? They applauded his victories and gave him more air time than all the others combined. Now, it is being revealed that the campaign of his opponent wanted the Trump victory all along. Can no one in the intellectual classes, at least, figure out how this worked? Must these ideologues be such gullible sheep because they feel that the ends always justify their shady means?

And, btw, if even one person writes only one side lies so frequently and so blatantly and brazenly, over and over and over, then we have to conclude that hope for an ultimate realization of the twisted nature of today's politics is not really plausible in this environment. We are seemingly doomed to descend ever lower, with the sanctimonious "right minded" denizens of academia leading the way.


sustenance, not "subsidence" ....

J. Bogat

None of the risks listed by twbb have to do with an IRS audit. What is the risk in that situation?

Vote Trump

There are numerous permutations. I will offer another one. If one finds a winning strategy in terms of investments/interest deductions/credits - one that is not commonly known why would he risk advertising it so that the IRS will then shut it down?


"None of the risks listed by twbb have to do with an IRS audit. What is the risk in that situation?"

I don't follow; are you asking about what the risk is in regards to the audit itself if the returns are publicly released? A lawyer's job is to identify ALL reasonable chances of civil and criminal liability, not just ones related to whatever process is being undergone. That's why criminal defense lawyers who don't tell immigrant clients that say, plea bargains could result in deportation, are committing malpractice.

Granted, his suggestion at the end doesn't make too much sense either when he suggests releasing the tax records after the audit is somehow more reasonable, but there could conceivably be a reason why it would get more acceptable then (say, for example, the statute of limitations has run out on whatever his lawyer is worried about).

Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance King

Vote Trump,

That is exactly what Bernie Madoff (with the money) said to his "investors."

Vote Trump

Good point. Hopefully IF this is the reason it will be an un-Madoff like moment and something that shows accounting/legal brilliance. Tiem will eventually tell.

J. Bogat

Trump has stated that he will release once the audit is done, so it would be helpful to know what the risk of release is relative to the audit. It appears there are none.


"Perhaps there are valid legal reasons for Trump to withhold his return, and perhaps not, but this is an issue that could be discussed on the merits if only we had the lawyer's actual written explanation. Yes, of course, Cohen's tax advice is confidential, but Trump is free to waive the confidentiality, or even to redact any sensitive passages of Cohen's opinion."

For what - 40 years? major party presidential candidates have been doing this. That says to me that the risk for a non-criminal actor is small.

The comments to this entry are closed.


  • StatCounter
Blog powered by Typepad