Trump and Taxes:
The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office has just filed charges against The Trump Organization and its Chief Financial Officer, Allen Weisselberg, for tax fraud and tax evasion. Not surprisingly, more charges are likely to be filed (when is another question). Donald Trump’s niece, Mary Trump, believes that his daughter, Ivanka, is likely to “flip” on him since she has a lot more to lose due to loyalty to her father, and her husband comes from a genuinely wealthy family.
The Manhattan D.A.’s office has focused its investigation on Trump’s taxes. By analogy to the prosecution of Alphonse “Al” Capone, Trump’s many other crimes (against immigrants, people of color, women, non-Christians, the environment, children, our democracy, to name a few), while vast, go into a vast welter of conflicting values on which not all of us agree. On the other hand, payment of taxes is generally viewed as a “necessary evil,” the price of living under the protection of a government. When prominent people fail to pay their fair share — or any — taxes, it riles the masses.
Al Capone, guilty of numerous crimes — murder, drugs, prostitution, bootlegging, bribery, gambling, and many others — was never successfully prosecuted for them. Instead, his bête noire was federal agent Elliott Ness and “The Untouchables,” who used the Internal Revenue Code to show the extent of his illegal activities. It was his violation of that set of federal laws that resulted in his being tried, convicted, and sentenced to 11 years in Alcatraz. When he was released, he was too sick (from syphillis) to continue wearing the crown of crime, and he died in 1947.
Now, it appears increasingly likely that Trump will go down the same path as his spiritual mentor, Al “Scarface” Capone. With the release of his tax returns and related financial records, Trump is facing intense scrutiny for all of his financial crimes: tax evasion, fraud, defalcations, and the like. It is unlikely that Trump will be able to satisfactorily explain why he did what he did, but he may have plenty of time to think about it should he become a long-term tenant of “the gray-bar Hilton.” One lives and hopes….