The Trump legal team believes the unauthorized release of Trump’s tax information could be in violation of federal privacy laws, according to the business network.
A portion of Trump’s returns were published by DCReport.org, which is run by Pulitzer Prize winning reporter David Cay Johnston. They were also broadcast on “The Rachel Maddow Show” on MSNBC.
The forms reportedly showed Trump earned $153 million in 2005 and paid $36.6 million in federal taxes, USA Today reported.
And The Hill reported: “The return itself reveals nothing untoward, but questions as to its origin and publication do raise serious concerns.”
Trump, who has refused calls to release his tax information, is said to be incensed by what he believes to be illegally obtained personal information and is convinced that Johnston and MSNBC should not have disclosed it, Fox Business said.
“I have no idea where they got it but it’s illegal and you’re not supposed to have it and it’s not supposed to be leaked…It’s certainly not an embarrassing tax return at all, but it’s an illegal thing they’ve been doing it, they’ve done it before and I think it’s a disgrace,” Trump told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson.
At the center of possible legal action is the “Unauthorized Disclosure of Information Act, which makes it illegal to publish an unauthorized tax return or ‘return information’ without receiving authorization from the individual whose tax are being reported on,” said the business network.
Those violating the federal law can face up to five years in prison, according to the Fox Business Network.
But legal experts maintain Trump would have trouble suing over the release of the forms, the business network reported.
“It’s the First Amendment,” attorney Stanley Arkin said. “What are they going to sue them for? Stealing the returns? Nobody made any money out of it. Nobody was bribed.”
Experts say court rulings have shielded journalists from legal action unless reporters were involved in a theft of tax documents, Fox Business Network noted.
Johnston has maintained the tax forms were mailed to his home, USA Today reported.
But it is a claim Trump has cast doubt on.