Media’s Thumb on the Scale on Issue of Candidates’ Taxes

By: Roger Aronoff | Accuracy in Media


After jostling between the candidates during Sunday night’s debate in St. Louis, Missouri over the issue of the day, “Who was the worse abuser of women, Donald Trump, or Bill and Hillary Clinton?,” the debate turned to the issue of Trump’s taxes. While Trump acknowledged that he used the tax laws to pay as little in taxes as required by law, he reminded Hillary that some of her big supporters, such as George Soros and Warren Buffett, do the same. In fact, most everyone pays as little in taxes as is legally required. And why shouldn’t they? But Trump missed an opportunity to land a more direct hit on Hillary for tax-avoidance maneuvers that the Clintons engage in, both through their foundation, and beyond.

The media continue their reporting frenzy based on speculation about Trump’s tax returns and whether he has paid federal income tax in the last 20 years. The Clinton campaign has jumped on the bandwagon, publishing a Donald Trump tax “calculator” which calculates a visitor’s tax contribution as zero dollars. It is obviously meant to mock Mr. Trump.

“While millions of American families, including mine and yours, were working hard and paying their fair share…it seems he was contributing nothing to our nation,” said Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail.

Similarly, NBC’s Chuck Todd said on Meet the Press on October 2 that “this is basically a deduction that benefits wealthy businessmen. He failed at his businesses. Those first three businesses were failures. And then he was able to get a tax break for that failure on the next billion dollars of income. Look, it’s all legal. Should it be?” Todd also said that Trump had exploited a tax “loophole.”

The question is, do the Clintons, and the media, really want to go there on this issue? Apparently so. However, a responsible media would be pursuing the tax issues of both the Clintons and Trump.

According to Todd’s definition, a tax loophole is one that benefits the wealthy at the expense of the poor. What, then, would he call WJC [for William Jefferson Clinton], LLC? It is a shell corporation that Bill Clinton used “to keep consulting fees paid [to him] off the books of the Clinton Foundation,” according to Jerome Corsi of WorldNetDaily. This arrangement “allowed Clinton to avoid disclosing the existence of the shell company even to the IRS, as long as compensation payments to him were withdrawn as soon as they were deposited, ensuring the account always showed a zero balance.”

This, assuredly, is the kind of wealthy businessman loophole that Todd was condemning. Where is his condemnation of Bill Clinton? Does Todd even know about this?

The Associated Press, Corsi writes, also “reported Doug Band at Teneo made ready use to the WJC LLC bank account to pay Bill Clinton on the side for lucrative business dealings the Clintons wanted to keep out of audited financial statements and IRS Form 990s prepared for the Clinton Foundation.” Band, as we have previously noted, was a co-founder of Teneo Holdings as well as a Clinton Foundation official, who was shown to have been peddling influence with Hillary’s State Department. Teneo was founded by former aides to the Clintons, and it hired close Hillary aide Huma Abedin while she still worked for Hillary at the State Department.

The Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Health Access Initiative have had longstanding problems with accurate tax reporting. But where is the liberal media’s outrage, or even any interest, about that? Trump accused Hillary during the Sunday night debate of making “$250 million by being in office,” referring to her pay-to-play shenanigans while secretary of state. Clinton had no answer.

In 2015, the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) refiled tax returns for 2012 and 2013, and the Clinton Foundation itself refiled form 990s for 2010 through 2013, “after Reuters discovered errors in the forms,” reported Jonathan Allen for Reuters last year. The foundation had acknowledged foreign government donations on its website and in publications, but, apparently, not separately in its tax returns, as required by law, reported Allen. “Among other amendments, the foundation now reports receiving nearly $20 million in funds from governments, mostly foreign governments, between 2010 and 2013,” reported Allen. These included the years that Mrs. Clinton served as secretary of state, and had a memorandum of understanding with the Obama administration. These are the types of conflicts of interest that the media should not ignore.

Now the Clinton Foundation has again refiled tax-related forms—this time at the state level, claiming that the New York state attorney general had not asked them to resubmit these forms, but that they are doing so out of caution. “A Clinton Foundation official said he was ‘not certain’ if the supplementary filings submitted this week were required by law but noted the charity would turn them over anyway ‘out of an abundance of caution,’” reports Sarah Westwood for The Washington Examiner.

Consider the outright hypocrisy that the mainstream media and Clinton supporter New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman have demonstrated on this issue. A Wall Street Journal editorial lambasted Schneiderman’s “screaming double standard” as he recently demanded that Trump’s foundation has “15 days to turn over reams of paper, including audited financial statements and annual financial reports going back many years” or face allegations of fraud.

“While it’s possible the Trump Foundation has violated in some way ‘section 172 of Article 7-A New York’s Executive Law,’ it’s notable that the best Mr. Schneiderman could drum up by way of ‘fraud’ was a paperwork technicality,” notes the editorial. “The announcement is Mr. Schneiderman’s latest misuse of his prosecutorial authority to attack his political enemies.”

Schneiderman has endorsed Mrs. Clinton and is part of her campaign’s New York leadership council.

Even worse, recent reporting by CNBC shows that the mainstream media may have been fabricating Trump’s tax elitism from whole cloth. Jack Mitnick, “who oversaw Donald Trump’s income tax returns in the mid-1990s,” criticized “the Times for ‘extrapolating’ that Trump could have avoided taxes for nearly two decades,” reports CNBC. “It was impossible for anyone looking at one page out of the ’95 tax return to extrapolate forward and say that for 20 years he wouldn’t have paid any tax,” asserts Mitnick.

Without Trump releasing his tax returns, the media can only speculate. And one must ask, is it so wrong for a businessman to credit his losses to reduce his future tax burden?

Mitnick’s bombshell was buried in an article entitled “Trump Tax Attorney: ‘He Didn’t Understand the Code.’”

This is typical of our corrupt media’s shoddy reporting when they hype a story that may not even be true, in order to undermine Trump’s chances. But Hillary Clinton and her family’s perennial tax refiling and her husband’s shell account bear little mention, or attention.

Roger Aronoff is the Editor of Accuracy in Media, and a member of the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi. He can be contacted at View the complete archives from Roger Aronoff.


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