Sometime in the past few days, the first two pages of President Trump’s 2005 Form 1040 mysteriously landed in the mailbox of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and tax professor David Cay Johnston. In the interest of full disclosure, the same two pages showed up at my house late last week, but they were shipped C.O.D., and I’d be damned if I was going to shell out the 49 cents.
Johnston shared the documents with Rachel Maddow and MSNBC, setting off BREAKING NEWS sirens that inspired millions of Americans to flip on the TV to watch Maddow unveil the President’s intimate — and private — financial information.
Now normally, the opportunity to ogle the President’s tax returns would not create a stir; after all, every sitting president since Nixon has published their returns as part of an unwritten agreement with the American people to be transparent and forthright. President Trump, quite famously, has deviated from that long-held practice, first refusing to release his returns during his campaign because he was “under constant IRS audit,” and then pointing to his subsequent election as a referendum that “no one other than journalists” cares about his taxes.
Of course, people DO care: over 1 million individuals signed an online petition insisting that Trump publish the missing returns, but to date, the President has resisted. This of course, has only added to the intrigue, and in today’s world, when there’s enough intrigue, there will eventually be a leak.
Authored by Tony Nitti, Withum Partner and writer for Forbes.com.