Tom Steyer’s tax disclosure is transparent as mud

Tom Steyer, Democrat for President, is confused by the word transparency. He sets up a website titled Transparency that contains ten years of his tax returns -- except it doesn’t. It contains ten years of parts of tax returns that he wants us to see, excluding potentially thousands of pages. In order to bury this fact, he includes a lot of tax returns for his non-profits that are already publicly available. When you scroll through those to his personal income tax returns transparency just becomes another twelve-letter word at the top of a web page.

It’s easy to solute him for doing what President Trump won’t. Except that he didn’t. He has conveniently excluded hundreds of pages of his tax returns – each year! That’s thousands of pages of details that just might be, shall we say, inconvenient.

How do we know this? Throughout the pages he did choose to include are references to Statements A, B & C as well as 31 or more numbered statements. All stuck in the mud. There are actual required forms missing too, including his Schedule C, which reports personal self-employment income. This form nets close to a million dollars out of the almost $150 million in 2017 but for some reason, this was something that must be hidden from us in the name of transparency.

Steyer also had $14 million of income from a form Schedule E. This schedule includes rental income and he has included a few pages that don’t even come close to this amount, which means that there are many, many pages excluded on his Transparency website. Which brings me to the other form of income reported on Schedule E – Royalty Income. Book royalties would be reported on this form but he doesn’t strike me as the Tom Clancy type. The more common form of royalty is from energy partnerships like oil and gas wells and coal mines. It’s well known that Mr. Green For You But Not For Me has made his fortune on the backs of carbon emissions. Could it be that he doesn’t want us to know that he may not have sold all of those oil wells and coal mines?

Also missing are details of his investment income of over $100 million, which includes an enormous amount of foreign income. The only reason I can think of for excluding this little fact is that the foreign source is Russian oligarchs. I have no way of knowing this but what other explanation could there be for him intentionally cutting out those dozens or hundreds of pages from his Transparency website?

Another thing muddying things up are the pages calculating his actual taxes due. Why is this important? Mr. Everybody Else Should Pay More Taxes But Not Me only paid about 22% federal taxes on his $146,274,636  of adjusted gross income in 2017. If I remember, Warren Buffett’s secretary pays a higher tax rate. I also remember a certain Republican presidential candidate that the press castigated incessantly for being successful. If they can see through the mud on his Transparency site, they may want to ask him about that little oversight.

I’m certain that if Trump provided this level of transparency the media would be calling it what it is – clear as mud.

Tom Steyer, Democrat for President, is confused by the word transparency. He sets up a website titled Transparency that contains ten years of his tax returns -- except it doesn’t. It contains ten years of parts of tax returns that he wants us to see, excluding potentially thousands of pages. In order to bury this fact, he includes a lot of tax returns for his non-profits that are already publicly available. When you scroll through those to his personal income tax returns transparency just becomes another twelve-letter word at the top of a web page.

It’s easy to solute him for doing what President Trump won’t. Except that he didn’t. He has conveniently excluded hundreds of pages of his tax returns – each year! That’s thousands of pages of details that just might be, shall we say, inconvenient.

How do we know this? Throughout the pages he did choose to include are references to Statements A, B & C as well as 31 or more numbered statements. All stuck in the mud. There are actual required forms missing too, including his Schedule C, which reports personal self-employment income. This form nets close to a million dollars out of the almost $150 million in 2017 but for some reason, this was something that must be hidden from us in the name of transparency.

Steyer also had $14 million of income from a form Schedule E. This schedule includes rental income and he has included a few pages that don’t even come close to this amount, which means that there are many, many pages excluded on his Transparency website. Which brings me to the other form of income reported on Schedule E – Royalty Income. Book royalties would be reported on this form but he doesn’t strike me as the Tom Clancy type. The more common form of royalty is from energy partnerships like oil and gas wells and coal mines. It’s well known that Mr. Green For You But Not For Me has made his fortune on the backs of carbon emissions. Could it be that he doesn’t want us to know that he may not have sold all of those oil wells and coal mines?

Also missing are details of his investment income of over $100 million, which includes an enormous amount of foreign income. The only reason I can think of for excluding this little fact is that the foreign source is Russian oligarchs. I have no way of knowing this but what other explanation could there be for him intentionally cutting out those dozens or hundreds of pages from his Transparency website?

Another thing muddying things up are the pages calculating his actual taxes due. Why is this important? Mr. Everybody Else Should Pay More Taxes But Not Me only paid about 22% federal taxes on his $146,274,636  of adjusted gross income in 2017. If I remember, Warren Buffett’s secretary pays a higher tax rate. I also remember a certain Republican presidential candidate that the press castigated incessantly for being successful. If they can see through the mud on his Transparency site, they may want to ask him about that little oversight.

I’m certain that if Trump provided this level of transparency the media would be calling it what it is – clear as mud.