Rachel Maddow should be criminally charged and tried before a jury of her peers for the blatant violation of the criminal statutes controlling the unauthorized release of someone else's tax return or tax return information (President Donald Trump).   Under the controlling criminal statute, it does not matter that she is a reporter who is undoubtedly blameless in the illegal taking of the return or return information from the IRS records.


The controlling law is clear.   Title 26 USC § 7213(a)(3) plainly and clearly states:



§ 7213 Unauthorized disclosure of information


(a) General rule.  Returns and return information shall be confidential, and except as authorized by this title—


(3) Other persons

It shall be unlawful for any person to whom any return or return information (as defined in section 6103(b)) is disclosed in a manner unauthorized by this title thereafter willfully to print or publish in any manner not provided by law any such return or return information. Any violation of this paragraph shall be a felony punishable by a fine in any amount not exceeding $5,000, or imprisonment of not more than 5 years, or both, together with the costs of prosecution.



To be completely thorough in our assessment of the crime, we must of course check the definition of the terms "return" and "return information", "as defined in section 6103(b)".  Ok, here they are:



§ 6103 Confidentiality and disclosure of returns and return information


(b) DefinitionsFor purposes of this section—

(1) Return

The term “return” means any tax or information return, declaration of estimated tax, or claim for refund required by, or provided for or permitted under, the provisions of this title which is filed with the Secretary by, on behalf of, or with respect to any person, and any amendment or supplement thereto, including supporting schedules, attachments, or lists which are supplemental to, or part of, the return so filed.

(2) Return information

The term “return information” means—

(A) a taxpayer’s identity, the nature, source, or amount of his income, payments, receipts, deductions, exemptions, credits, assets, liabilities, net worth, tax liability, tax withheld, deficiencies, overassessments, or tax payments, whether the taxpayer’s return was, is being, or will be examined or subject to other investigation or processing, or any other data, received by, recorded by, prepared by, furnished to, or collected by the Secretary with respect to a return or with respect to the determination of the existence, or possible existence, of liability (or the amount thereof) of any person under this title for any tax, penalty, interest, fine, forfeiture, or other imposition, or offense,

(B) ...



These statutes plainly make it a crime for any person, like Rachel Maddow, without exception, to publicly display and reveal, print or publish, in any manner, the contents of any other person's tax return or return information, as she has irrefutably done.   These statutes plainly make it clear that Rachel Maddow's conduct, with regards to Donald Trump's tax return and return information revealed and broadcast on national television, constitutes a very severe federal  crime  - with as much as 5 years in prison specified as the punishment.


The statutorily defined crime specifically includes reporters and journalists or broadcast hosts like Rachel Maddow, by specifically including the acts of  "printing" or "publishing"  "in any manner" the return or return information given to the reporter.  This statute obviously includes all news media personnel, reporters, journalists, TV show hosts, etc., - even those who are completely blameless in the unlawful taking, or illegal acquisition, of the protected "return" or "return information" of the other person, which they are prohibiting from consequently revealing in any manner (outside the law's allowances for such - internal IRS use only, or as properly introduced evidence in a court of law).


The reason why the reporting/broadcast community is not protected is obvious.  There is no "whistleblower" exemption in this statute, or in the controlling court opinions and precedents enforcing it, because there simply is no legal or moral redemption that results from the reporter's  disclosure of the personal tax return or return information, - as there is no real benefit, alleged or otherwise, that accrues to the public as a result of the disclosure by the reporter or journalist of the protected return information contained on another person's tax return.  Unlike "whistleblower" publications or broadcasts of news-media acquired information, where there may be a real benefit to the public that is realized in the other instances of the publication or broadcast of illegally acquired government documents or information, by and  through the disclosure of them (whether classified or not), because they do factually expose some real wrongdoing, or crime, that is secretly occurring inside the government or its operations, in violation of the law.    A public benefit is realized in their disclosure ("whistleblower"), but not with tax returns.   The privacy of everyone in the nation is ultimately threatened by this sort of criminal publication of personal, protected tax returns and return information.


This tax return information is 4th Amendment protected information, which is why Donald Trump was not required by law to disclose any of the returns, or their information, for any tax-year, simply as a function of running for President of the United States.   That other politicians choose to do so is irrelevant, and not a legal argument.   If they all jumped off a cliff like lemmings, should Pres. Trump also be required to do so ?   If they all run up 10 trillion in debt, should Donald Trump also be required to do so ?   The claim is absurd.


The publication of someone else's tax return information, particularly a very wealthy man like Donald Trump, is simply usury sensationalism, and is nothing but yellow journalism. It is a crime, and Rachel Maddow has willfully and knowingly broken this law and committed the crime, and should be held accountable to the courts of law for her criminal conduct.  Everybody knows it is a crime to release a tax return or tax return  information from someone else's tax return, and besides, ignorance of the law is neither and excuse nor a valid legal defense to the crime in court. 


Rachel Maddow should be criminally charged and then tried in a court of law for this crime that she has very definitely committed, and if convicted, - she should be sent to prison, just like Dinesh D'Souza was.