Not surprisingly, the fact that Donald Trump has not released his tax returns isn’t stopping Democrats. From Politico:
Trump is certainly wealthy. But in a campaign where the New Yorker has portrayed himself as the biggest, the richest, the classiest and the best at everything, disclosing that he is less rich than he lets on could be damaging. And it is a line of attack Democrats are already using and hope to pound away on until November….
The Clinton campaign wants to portray Trump’s business empire as a Potemkin village, showy on the surface, but with little underneath.
People familiar with the matter say Democrats have leading forensic accountants poring over all of Trump’s public records and disclosures with a plan to release whatever they find to support this narrative as the campaign shifts into general election mode this summer and fall.
“Some of the stuff is supposedly dynamite,” one senior Democratic operative with ties to the Clinton campaign said. “They are very confident about the opposition research. But I wouldn’t expect anything cataclysmic until the fall.”
Trump’s wealth is, of course, fair game in a presidential election. (And even if it wasn’t, when has “fairness” ever been an impediment for a Clinton campaign?)
As someone who is considering voting for Trump, I’d like to know if his campaign will return fire by using the Clinton’s finances as ammo? While “Crooked Hillary” is arguably great labeling, Trump will need a lot more than that to prevail against this bunch. Fortunately, there is already a great place to start, namely, Peter Schweizer’s excellent book Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich. Trump’s staffers need to get a copy if they haven’t already. And they need to prevail upon their boss to hire some forensic accountants too, in order to dig even deeper into the Clinton finances than Schweizer did. Trump surely knows where to find some good beancounters.
Don’t count on any of the GOP organizations to do this. Right now, they are going for the low-hanging fruit:
Hillary Clinton is facing a long summer of scrutiny over her emails and use of a private server during her tenure as secretary of State, the Republican National Committee (RNC) said Wednesday.
As news and criticism about the Democratic presidential front-runner’s personal email setup trickle out in the coming weeks, the Republican Party appears primed to pounce, it indicated in a memo released to the press.
To be fair, that is a serious weakness for Hillary, and the GOP is smart to keep it front and center. But “email/top secret” probably isn’t as sexy as “money/corruption” in the public mind.
In short, if the Clinton campaign is going to claim that Trump plays fast and loose with his finances, Trump must be ready to fire back with claims that the Clintons play ever faster and looser with theirs.
UPDATE: It turns out the Trump campaign already has a copy of Schweizer’s book. Good.