Tax scandal: Trump ‘represents the rigged system’ – Clinton

Tax scandal: Trump ‘represents the rigged system’ – Clinton
October 04 13:19 2016

Hillary Clinton skewered opponent Donald Trump on Monday as a phony prophet of the working class amid revelations that the real estate mogul may have avoided paying federal income taxes for nearly two decades.

“Trump represents the same rigged system that he claims he’s going to change,” the Democratic presidential nominee told voters in Toledo, during the first of two scheduled campaign stops in the battleground state of Ohio.

Clinton cited a report in the New York Times published on Saturday, in whichleaked documents showed Trump as claiming a loss of $916m in his 1995 personal tax filing. The deduction, stemming from financial mismanagement at three of his Atlantic City casinos, was substantial enough to pave the way so that Trump could have eliminated what he owed in federal income taxes for a period of up to 18 years.

“How anyone can lose a dollar, let alone a billion dollars, in the casino industry is beyond me,” Clinton said. “The whole story tells us everything we need to know about how Trump does business.”

“After he made all those bad bets and lost all that money, he didn’t lift a finger to help and protect his employees, or the small businesses and contractors he’d hired, or the people of Atlantic City,” she added.

“Trump was taking from America with both hands and leaving the rest of us with the bill … When it comes to bullying small businesses, Donald Trump is the poster boy.”

Clinton and her allies have, for months, hammered Trump over his refusal to release his tax returns, breaking from a nearly 40-year tradition among major-party nominees. In her remarks, Clinton called for a law requiring presidential nominees of major parties to be forced to disclose their tax returns – mirroring a push by Senate Democrats for legislation to do precisely that.

Trump has repeatedly stood by his decision not to make his returns public, stating he was unable to do so because he is under audit. But his son Donald Trump Jr recently offered a separate excuse, saying the financial disclosures would be a distraction for his father’s campaign. In last week’s presidential debate, Trump sought to deflect the issue by pivoting to Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of state.

Trump’s surrogates, such as the New Jersey governor, Chris Christie, and former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, spun his apparent skirting of income taxes asevidence of his shrewdness.

But Clinton mocked such notions in Ohio, asking the crowd wryly: “Here’s my question: what kind of genius loses a billion dollars in a single year?”

Polling has shown a tight race in Ohio, with Trump holding a slim advantage in a state hard hit by the decline in manufacturing jobs. The former reality TV star has focused on Clinton’s record on trade, bashing her husband’s passage of Nafta in the 1990s and her previous support for the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership.

While taking the podium in Toledo, however, Clinton made clear she no longer favored the TPP – a trade pact negotiated by Barack Obama that has been maligned by workers as offshoring American jobs.

“I oppose TPP now, I’ll oppose it after the election, and I’ll oppose it as president,” she said.

Throughout her appearance, Clinton struck a more populist tone – vowing to hold accountable institutions such as Wells Fargo on the heels of a scandal in which the bank opened as many as 2m accounts without authorization from customers.

“Really shocking, isn’t it? One of the nation’s biggest banks bullying thousands of employees into committing fraud against unsuspecting customers,” Clinton said, dubbing the Wells Fargo case as “egregious corporate behavior”.

In response, Clinton unveiled a new proposal that would seek to curb the use of fine-print “forced arbitration” clauses in contracts which prohibit workers and consumers from filing legal action against companies who have harmed them. She also called for strengthening antitrust laws and enforcement.

“We are not going to let companies like Wells Fargo use these fine-print gotchas to escape accountability,” Clinton said.

At a rally in Akron later on Monday, Clinton urged supporters to “stage an intervention” with their friends and family planning to vote for Trump in November.

“Remember,” Clinton said with a wide grin. “Friends don’t let friends to vote for Donald Trump.”

Clinton continued to hit Trump for reportedly not paying federal taxes for 18 years. She scoffed at Trump’s supporters who have sought to cast him as a “genius” for taking advantage of the tax law and wondered what Trump might suggest next.

“What else does he want us to do – pay him to lose money?” she said, drawing laughs from the crowd.

Before Clinton lit into Trump, she took time to thank her latest high-profile supporter, basketball superstar LeBron James. In an op-ed published on Business Insider on Sunday, the Ohio native called Clinton a “champion for children and their futures” and said she has built “on the legacy of my good friend, President Barack Obama”.

“I was especially honored to receive the endorsement of LeBron James,” Clinton said, adding: “I may become president but he will be King of Ohio.”

Guardian UK