This Isn't Sufficient

For some time, a number of people have questioned why Senator Bernie Sanders has not released his tax returns. He has released an IRS Form 1040, which is a tax summary, but is not a full return. By comparison, Hillary Clinton has made her tax returns available going back to the year 1992.

On Friday, David Cay Johnston published a piece asking why Sanders, who is an advocate of transparency, has not released his tax returns. The piece got an enormous amount of notice, and, yesterday, on CNN's State of the Union, Jake Tapper asked Sanders about his tax returns.

Transcript of relevant excerpt beginning at 5:22 (complete transcript available here):

TAPPER: Let's talk about taxes—specifically about your tax returns. I have to say: I'm kind of surprised that you haven't gone further on transparency. You released the summary page of your 2014 tax returns. Hillary Clinton has posted on her website the last eight years of her personal returns—all of the returns. Before the New York primary, will you match her? Will you post your full returns for the last eight years?

SANDERS: You know, we are not—you know, to be very honest with you, you know who does our tax returns? My wife does our tax returns. We have been a little bit busy lately. So, we will get out as much information as we can. There ain't going to be very much exciting in that. I get a salary from the United States Senate. You know, there's not going to be anything new in it that there hasn't—people haven't seen for the last many years. But we will get it out as soon as we can.

TAPPER: But nobody—nobody has seen them at all, I guess, is the point, and whether or not there's anything exciting in them—

SANDERS: No, that is not true. That is—that is not true. Of course, we have released them in the past. Our financial situation, to the best of my knowledge, has not changed very much, but we will get out all of that information as soon as we can.
Okay. Wow. So, first of all, let me just say that, honestly, I don't even know how much I value candidates releasing their tax returns, or think they should be obliged to do it. But I do care when multiple candidates—in fact, every remaining presidential candidate except Clinton—have claimed to have released their tax returns but haven't, yet it's Clinton who continually gets dinged by the media for her resistance to transparency.

And I actually care quite a bit that a sitting United States Senator who is running for the presidency casually says that his wife, who is not a certified accountant or tax preparer, does their taxes, and, for some reason, that's supposed to be an explanation as to why he can't release them. What the shit?

That is just embarrassing stuff.

And let us be brutally honest here: Hillary Clinton would never get away with an answer like that in a million years. Nor should she. And the first person who would line up to not let her get away with it is Bernie Sanders.

So why is it that he is not holding himself to the same standards he expects of his opponent?

Surely even his most diehard supporters have to be getting itchy with their candidate's refusal to live up to the expectations he has set for Hillary Clinton.

If they're not, they're really not paying attention. Or they really don't have any standards at all.

Shakesville is run as a safe space. First-time commenters: Please read Shakesville's Commenting Policy and Feminism 101 Section before commenting. We also do lots of in-thread moderation, so we ask that everyone read the entirety of any thread before commenting, to ensure compliance with any in-thread moderation. Thank you.

blog comments powered by Disqus