Tax Filings Propublica

Liberal Advocacy Group Goes Mum On Tax Info When Tables Are Turned

In October, after The New York Times published an alleged bombshell about former President Donald Trump’s income taxes, Executive Editor Dean Baquet explained why the paper felt the need to expose the president’s filings.

Baquet claimed a “significant gap” existed between what Trump said publicly about his tax bill, and what the records indicated.

Yet the bombshell fizzled. Only liberals who already hated Trump were moved by the reporting.

But those same liberals who obsessed over holding Trump “accountable” for his supposed lawlessness while in office were suspiciously silent about the release of his tax records, which is a federal crime. Baquet elided over that issue in his note to readers.

“We are not making the records themselves public because we do not want to jeopardize our sources, who have taken enormous personal risks to help inform the public,” he wrote. Translation: The feds would have been well within their jurisdiction to pursue and punish those who illegally leaked Trump’s records.

Baquet, sounding like a pawnshop owner who mysteriously ended up with a stolen TV, distanced his paper from its own role in the matter. “The Supreme Court,” he wrote, “has repeatedly ruled that the First Amendment allows the press to publish newsworthy information that was legally obtained by reporters.”

The nonprofit investigative group ProPublica more or less has cited the same rationale in defense of its publishing what could be illegally leaked tax returns of some of America’s wealthiest people, including Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Tesla’s Elon Musk, super investor Warren Buffett and media mogul Michael Bloomberg.

ProPublica maintained that it wanted to show how such titans “pay little in income tax compared to their massive wealth — sometimes, even nothing.”

Yet on Monday, the conservative Washington Free Beacon noted something curious about ProPublica that resonated like the silence of those law-and-order liberals who cheered on the Times.

“Conspicuously missing from the report,” the Free Beacon reported, “were details on whether the billionaires who fund ProPublica engage in similar tax avoidance schemes. ProPublica declined to say whether it had obtained tax returns for any of its donors or whether it planned on publishing them.”

The Free Beacon stated ProPublica President Richard Tofel declined to comment “on what we have until and unless we publish it.”

Tofel tried to fire back at the Free Beacon, noting that it had not asked him about left-wing investor George Soror, who had donated to ProPublica.

But, as the Free Beacon explained, Soros was the 20th largest donor to ProPublica. And what he gave fell far behind the group’s biggest donors – such as Laurene Powell Jobs, widow of Apple founder Steve Jobs; Yahoo cofounder David Filo; and eBay found Pierre Omidyar – who tax returns magically did not appear in the ProPublica reporting.

Meanwhile, the Free Beacon added, “ProPublica is likely one of the beneficiaries of the tax-avoidance strategy it derides.”

ProPublica’s initial report noted how the uber-wealthy seek to skate past IRS coffers by creating nonprofit, charitable foundations.

In 2017, the Free Beacon pointed out, the Ford Foundation, created by the Ford family and which became one of the biggest charities in the world, gave $7.5 million to ProPublica. “Other family foundations, such as the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Katie McGrath & J.J. Abrams Family Foundation, and the Sandler Foundation have given ProPublica millions of dollars over the years,” the Free Beacon reported.

Few things are as solid or as reliable in this world as the iron-clad sanctimony of liberals. 

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