While The New York Times and every left-wing TV show and internet site in the world tries to wring as much juice as they can out of the scandalous fact that President Donald Trump saved as much of his own money as possible over the years, one House lawmaker is more concerned with the other side of the story: Exactly how did the Times get their hands on those records in the first place?
No matter how closely you examine the Times’ story, you’ll note that there is no allegation of criminality anywhere in the piece. But the fact that the story exists is evidence that a crime was indeed committed – possibly by someone within the Internal Revenue Service.
In a statement released on Sunday, Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), the ranking Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee, said that someone broke the law by handing the president’s tax documents to the New York Times.
“While many critics question the article’s accuracy, equally troubling is the prospect that a felony crime was committed by releasing the private tax return information of an individual – in this case the President’s,” he said. “To ensure every American is protected against the illegal release of their tax returns for political reasons, I am calling for an investigation of the source and to prosecute if the law was broken.”
Brady’s concerns were echoed on Monday by Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk, who tweeted: “Who leaked Trump’s tax returns to The New York Times? 26 U.S. Code § 7213 makes it illegal to disclose unauthorized information, including tax returns. If true—there should be felony charges leveled.”
These concerns prompted the blog “Law & Crime” to exonerate The New York Times of any wrongdoing:
First Amendment expert and attorney Floyd Abrams told Law & Crime that it’s clear The New York Times was free to publish this news.
“First Amendment law could hardly be clearer than that the press is protected in publishing newsworthy information, let alone information about a President in the midst of his campaign for re-election, regardless of whether its source was authorized or permitted to provide it,” Abrams said. “In any event, no law barred the Times from publishing its article and if there had been one it would in all likelihood be unconstitutional.”
Except, of course, neither Brady nor Kirk (nor anyone else we’ve seen) is calling for NYT journalists to be jailed for publishing the information. What is very much relevant (and given extremely short shrift by Law & Crime and other liberal defenders) is the question of whether or not there is someone within the IRS who leaked these documents. That’s a major story, and that’s a crime, no matter how you slice it.