Skip to main content

View Diary: The SCOTUS, the Chamber of Commerce, and a Code of Conduct (61 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  OK. Maybe they SHOULD be tax filings. (0+ / 0-)

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 03:44:40 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  They do file their taxes, presumably. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lgmcp
    •  lgmcp - all tax filings are confidential (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lgmcp, Adam B

      Some politicians voluntarily disclose their tax filings, but it is not required of anyone in any position. The unauthorized disclosure of someone's tax information, by the IRS or any source, is a felony.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 07:54:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thank you for explaining. (0+ / 0-)

        Families have to disclose them to file for federal student aid, though, don't they?  

        "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

        by lgmcp on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 07:12:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  lgmcp - that's common (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lgmcp

          It's common for lenders to require tax returns to verify income, however that is voluntary on the part of the borrower. Most lenders make a good faith effort to keep your tax information confidential and many don't keep copies of your tax returns in their files because of the potential liability. The point is that tax information is always confidential unless you agree to disclose it, and in most cases the disclosure is limited to a specific use and the other party has an obligation to keep the information confidential. People in public office make tax returns public when they think it is in their self interest. I support the confidential nature of our tax returns and their public disclosure should not be required for any elected or appointed office.

          "let's talk about that"

          by VClib on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 08:06:37 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I see your point (0+ / 0-)

            Yes, a would-be borrower is making a free choice, and the use is specific to the loan fitness.  

            But I'm still ambivalent.

            Aren't those seeking elected office also making a free choice?  And isn't it a legitimate use for the public to know the sources and magnitude of the income officials are receiving?   It's kind of like, I have a full-time job, and if I want to moonlight, I'm supposed to disclose that to my employer in some detail, so they can reasonably determine if I'm diverting too much of my energies, or creating workers comp injuries.   If public officials work for us, yet they also have all this other money coming in, why AREN'T we entitled to know where else their time, energy, and loyalty will go to?

            In other words, I respect a general premise that citizen privacy is good, and that confidentiality of tax records is an important part of that general premise.  

            But, why is elected office not a special case?   What are the good reasons for THEM to retain the general privacy?

            "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

            by lgmcp on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 09:42:23 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  lgmcp - you raise a very valid point (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              lgmcp

              Given the confidential nature of IRS information I wonder if Congress could even require candidates to disclose their tax returns? I am not a lawyer, or constitutional scholar, but it would be a very interesting question to ask those who might know. There may even be a distinction between being a candidate and being elected. I think the disclosure forms currently required by federal elected officials may be as much disclosure as the Congress is willing, or maybe able, to require. It's an interesting issue. I personally come down on the side of making the disclosure of tax returns voluntary for elected officials, but certainly respect the view that more transparency would be helpful to voters.

              "let's talk about that"

              by VClib on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 10:41:26 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  "Willing" probably plays a strong role (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                VClib
                the disclosure forms currently required by federal elected officials may be as much disclosure as the Congress is willing, or maybe able, to require.

                since the members of Congress who would have to enact any such requirement ... would be initiating the baring their OWN affairs.  But it would be nice to know if "able" plays a role also.

                The main argument I can see on behalf of the voluntary status you advocate, would be in society's need to attract candidates to public office, and thus not to impose draconian conditions that reasonable persons might be argued to avoid.  

                Though lowly wage slaves such as most of us would have little to care about keeping private.  In other words, it's only those with powerful interests, who have a motivation to keep those interests quiet.

                "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

                by lgmcp on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 10:57:02 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  lgmcp - you raise a very valid point (0+ / 0-)

              Given the confidential nature of IRS information I wonder if Congress could even require candidates to disclose their tax returns? I am not a lawyer, or constitutional scholar, but it would be a very interesting question to ask those who might know. There may even be a distinction between being a candidate and being elected. I think the disclosure forms currently required by federal elected officials may be as much disclosure as the Congress is willing, or maybe able, to require. It's an interesting issue. I personally come down on the side of making the disclosure of tax returns voluntary for elected officials, but certainly respect the view that more transparency would be helpful to voters.

              "let's talk about that"

              by VClib on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 10:46:20 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

  • Recommended (145)
  • Community (68)
  • Elections (34)
  • Media (33)
  • Trans-Pacific Partnership (31)
  • Environment (30)
  • 2016 (29)
  • Law (28)
  • Culture (27)
  • Civil Rights (26)
  • Barack Obama (24)
  • Hillary Clinton (24)
  • Science (23)
  • Climate Change (23)
  • Republicans (23)
  • Labor (21)
  • Economy (19)
  • Marriage Equality (19)
  • Jeb Bush (18)
  • Josh Duggar (18)
  • Click here for the mobile view of the site