CNN | 9/23/2020 | Listen

Wait, Lindsey Graham wants someone to release tax returns?

Updated 7:54 PM ET, Tue September 15, 2020

(CNN) - Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, facing a surprisingly serious challenge from former state Democratic Party Chairman Jaime Harrison this fall, has latched on to an, um, interesting issue to bash Harrison: tax returns.

Late last week Graham released 11 years of his taxes and called on Harrison to do the same.

Over the weekend, Graham tweeted this: "It's been 72 hours since I released 11 years of state and federal tax returns and challenged @HarrisonJaime to do the same. Crickets. What is he hiding?"

And then on Monday, in a press event at a gun shop, Graham said this of Harrison: "I've released 11 years of my tax returns. Where are your tax returns? How did you make your money?"

Harrison has yet to formally respond -- or release his returns.

If this all feels a little familiar, well, that's because it is.

President Donald Trump has steadfastly refused to release any tax returns, becoming the first president in the modern era to do so. Trump has offered all sorts of excuses for keeping his taxes private -- from the fact that he is under audit (five years and counting!) to the notion that tax returns don't actually tell you all that much about someone's financial standing. 

Graham, despite having been one of Trump's harshest critics during the 2016 Republican primary race, has transformed himself into one of the President's most loyal allies now.

And as you might have guessed, he hasn't exactly beaten the drum for his buddy to release some tax returns, beyond one broad call. "I think you should release your tax returns if you're running for president in 2020," Graham said in 2019. "I think everybody should. That's just my view. It'd be good for the country."

But since then, well, not much -- even as Trump has fought all the way to the Supreme Court to keep his taxes from Congress and the Manhattan district attorney. 

If what's good for the goose is good for the gander, then Graham must be wondering not just what Harrison is hiding by not releasing his returns but what Trump is hiding too. Right? RIGHT?!!

The Point: Irony, at least in politics, has been in critical condition for a while now. Graham, in trying to make a lack of transparency on tax returns an issue in his reelection race, may have killed it off entirely.


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