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Mon Apr 15, 2019, 12:12 PM

Mnuchin says 'analyzing the law' on Trump tax return request

Source: Reuters

Politics
April 15, 2019 / 9:03 AM / Updated 6 minutes ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Monday he will follow the law regarding Congress’ request for U.S. President Donald Trump’s tax returns but reiterated his concerns about lawmakers’ demands for the documents.

“We’re analyzing the law, we’re consulting with the Department of Justice,” Mnuchin said in an interview on Fox Business Network.

Congressional Democrats and the Trump administration are headed for a legal showdown after House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal imposed an April 23 deadline for the documents.

“I will follow the law,” Mnuchin told the cable network, adding that he would also review related “constitutional issues” carefully. He is involved in the decision since the department has oversight of the IRS.

Read more: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-taxes/mnuchin-says-analyzing-the-law-on-trump-tax-return-request-idUSKCN1RR1CE?il=0



Hey Mnuchin and Kudlow and Kettig..........................6103(f)(1) and (4)(A).....................that is all.................

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Reply Mnuchin says 'analyzing the law' on Trump tax return request (Original post)
turbinetree Apr 2019 OP
C_U_L8R Apr 2019 #1
atreides1 Apr 2019 #7
Thomas Hurt Apr 2019 #2
SKKY Apr 2019 #3
FBaggins Apr 2019 #6
watoos Apr 2019 #9
FBaggins Apr 2019 #13
WhoWoodaKnew Apr 2019 #28
FBaggins Apr 2019 #31
flyingfysh Apr 2019 #12
FBaggins Apr 2019 #14
reACTIONary Apr 2019 #23
reACTIONary Apr 2019 #22
FBaggins Apr 2019 #32
stopwastingmymoney Apr 2019 #33
FBaggins Apr 2019 #35
reACTIONary Apr 2019 #37
reACTIONary Apr 2019 #38
FBaggins Apr 2019 #39
reACTIONary Apr 2019 #40
FBaggins Apr 2019 #41
reACTIONary Apr 2019 #42
Clarity2 Apr 2019 #4
ProudMNDemocrat Apr 2019 #5
Gothmog Apr 2019 #8
Zoonart Apr 2019 #27
watoos Apr 2019 #10
diva77 Apr 2019 #11
DallasNE Apr 2019 #15
FBaggins Apr 2019 #16
DallasNE Apr 2019 #19
FBaggins Apr 2019 #20
DallasNE Apr 2019 #24
FBaggins Apr 2019 #34
stopwastingmymoney Apr 2019 #36
forgotmylogin Apr 2019 #17
duforsure Apr 2019 #18
marble falls Apr 2019 #21
Mc Mike Apr 2019 #25
shanny Apr 2019 #26
DetlefK Apr 2019 #29
dalton99a Apr 2019 #30

Response to turbinetree (Original post)

Mon Apr 15, 2019, 12:18 PM

1. That's not following the law...

it's looking for a way around it. Mnuchin clearly cannot live up to his oath of office.

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Response to C_U_L8R (Reply #1)

Mon Apr 15, 2019, 12:41 PM

7. None of them can

Mnuchin isn't the only one who refuses to live up to his oath of office...none of those in this administration can!

I wouldn't be surprised that they all signed a loyalty oath to Trump...and spit on a copy of the US Constitution, to show their complete contempt for it and for what it represents!!!

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Response to turbinetree (Original post)

Mon Apr 15, 2019, 12:21 PM

2. I will follow the law.......as long as Big Daddy Trump lets me......lol

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Response to turbinetree (Original post)

Mon Apr 15, 2019, 12:21 PM

3. I just analyzed the law. Took me about 10 minutes...

...it's absolutely clear. Pony up Cinderella.

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Response to SKKY (Reply #3)

Mon Apr 15, 2019, 12:38 PM

6. Unfortunately, it isn't clear at all

The difference here is how we're thinking of "the law".

Obviously, if what you're looking at is the text of the legislation, it's as clear as could be.

But "the law" consists of quite a bit more than that. It has never been challenged in court before so it's still an open question whether it's even constitutional. If their interpretation is that it isn't... then a court would need to weigh in before they released anything.

Additionally, it's possible for Congress to exercise a power that it has - but do so in an impermissible way. More than one court has ruled against Trump one things that he had the power to do... but didn't do it correctly. Again, a court would have to rule on that.

Getting to an answer could take months or even years. Going through NY is likely to be easier and faster.

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #6)

Mon Apr 15, 2019, 01:55 PM

9. I have a 35 MPH speed limit past my house,

 

No one has ever challenged it yet either. Maybe I should just disregard that speed limit since it hasn't been challenged in court?

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Response to watoos (Reply #9)

Mon Apr 15, 2019, 03:31 PM

13. Sorry... that won't fly

There have been lots of challenges to whether or not the jurisdiction has the power to set a speed limit and plenty of precedent for when/how it gets enforced.

If that 35 MPH sign was put up by your HOA, you absolutely would have the ability to question whether or not it was valid. Are the roads state-owned? Then the HOA probably doesn't have that power.

In this case, it's an open question whether or not Congress has the power to grant itself the power to look at an individual's tax return. Were it anyone other than Trump, I suspect that most on DU would be against it.

As for the other question. Why do you think they want to look at his taxes?

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #13)

Tue Apr 16, 2019, 08:36 AM

28. To see if our president is financially beholden to entities in other countries

and if those entities are shaping his US policy.


That's a easy one.

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Response to WhoWoodaKnew (Reply #28)

Tue Apr 16, 2019, 10:10 AM

31. That's what I figured as well

The problem is that if that is the reason... they have no power to do it and the courts will kick them out on their butts.

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #6)

Mon Apr 15, 2019, 03:26 PM

12. You can "challenge" any law

That doesn't make them any the less clear. They are still the law.

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Response to flyingfysh (Reply #12)

Mon Apr 15, 2019, 03:33 PM

14. Untrue. See #13 above.

If Congress were to pass a law today saying that you have to open your garage and let the committee go through your boxes of junk as long as a committee chairman requested it... you would (I think correctly) say that Congress lacks the power to pass that law.

And I ask you the same question. Why do you think the committee wants to review his taxes?

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #14)

Mon Apr 15, 2019, 09:27 PM

23. I don't think that example is on point...

... one's personal possessions are directly protected by the fourth amendment. Information provided to the government and shared within the government is clearly not in the same category.

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #6)

Mon Apr 15, 2019, 09:21 PM

22. Tax returns are public records, and as such,

there is no inherent right to privacy concerning them. The right to privacy that does exist is legislated, not constitutional. Before that legislation, tax records were sometimes published in newspapers.

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Response to reACTIONary (Reply #22)

Tue Apr 16, 2019, 10:53 AM

32. They are most certainly NOT public records

The right to privacy that does exist is legislated, not constitutional.

Just the opposite. Privacy is definitely a constitutional principle. Legislation enforcing privacy rights does not create those rights.

I'd love to watch you tell an abortion advocate that there is no constitutional right to privacy and what privacy does exist comes from legislation, not the constitution.

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #32)

Tue Apr 16, 2019, 11:26 AM

33. An 'abortion advocate' ?


Please explain, what might that be?

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Response to stopwastingmymoney (Reply #33)

Tue Apr 16, 2019, 11:31 AM

35. Excellent point

I don't mean "someone who advocates for abortions". I meant someone for whom it's a big issue. Someone who understands the connection between privacy rights in the Constitution and abortion rights.

I didn't want to just say "women" because I know that too many women are on the other side of the argument.

Apologies for the clumsy wording.

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #32)

Tue Apr 16, 2019, 11:48 AM

37. You are right, they are not "public" records, they are...

government records. Sorry for the misnomer.

They are not, however, "private records". They are owned and controlled by the government, and do not fall under fourth amendment protections. In the absence of any contravening legislation they can be shared with other government entities, without fourth amendment protections against search and seizure.

In this case, that contravening legislation exists, but contains an explicit exception. That exception is what is being exercised in this case.

This simply is not a fourth amendment issue.

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #32)

Tue Apr 16, 2019, 12:04 PM

38. RE The right to privacy

In Planned Parenthood v. Casey the court wrote:

Our law affords constitutional protection to personal decisions relating to marriage, procreation, contraception, family relationships, child rearing, and education. [...] These matters, involving the most intimate and personal choices a person may make in a lifetime, choices central to personal dignity and autonomy, are central to the liberty protected by the Fourteenth Amendment.


I'm not sure how we could hold the transfer of information already held by the government to another government entity on a par with issues of marriage, procreation, contraception, family relationships, child rearing, and education.

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Response to reACTIONary (Reply #38)

Tue Apr 16, 2019, 12:56 PM

39. That's not the only case related to privacy/abortion

Also... there are plenty of court rulings like the ones that kept tax records out of FOIA coverage that were based on privacy grounds.

Interestingly - this was an earlier avenue in the attempt to get Trump's taxes. It was ruled on just a few months ago in Epic v. IRS by the DC Circuit.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) collects more than money. It acquires and maintains a reservoir of sensitive information about taxpayers. And time was, the President could—for any reason or no reason at all—order the IRS to make that sensitive information public. The arrangement worked out fine for decades. Then the Nixon administration compiled a list of political enemies and ordered the IRS to harass them. The resulting scandal prompted the Congress to enact sweeping legislation to protect taxpayer privacy. The Internal Revenue Code (IRC) now mandates that tax “[r]eturns and return information shall be confidential” unless they fall within one of the statute’s narrowly drawn exceptions. I.R.C. § 6103(a).

At first blush, the IRC stands in tension with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which vests the public with a broad right to access government records. 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(3)(A). One statute demands openness; the other privacy. But as we explain infra, the statutes work well together. Not all records are subject to FOIA requests. An agency need not disclose records “specifically exempted from disclosure by statute.” Id. § 552(b)(3). Because the IRC is such a statute, records that fall within its confidentiality mandate are exempt from FOIA.

This case presents the question whether a member of the public—here, a nonprofit organization—can use a FOIA request to obtain an unrelated individual’s tax records without his consent. With certain limited exceptions—all inapplicable here—the answer is no. No one can demand to inspect another’s tax records. And the IRC’s confidentiality protections extend to the ordinary taxpayer and the President alike. Accordingly, we affirm the dismissal of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)’s lawsuit seeking President Donald J. Trump’s income tax records.


I'm not sure how we could hold the transfer of information already held by the government to another government entity

"Government" is not a single unified entity. The three branches are not just co-equal... they are independent. A transfer between branches is in no sense an internal transfer, and even those (e.g., between the IRS and the White House) are restricted.

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #39)

Tue Apr 16, 2019, 01:57 PM

40. EPIC vs IRS is not on point....

.... it seems to involve a FOIA request by a private (non governmental) organization. Not the same thing as providing government records held by one branch of government to another.

And since such transfer is explicitly provided for in the controlling legislation, I don't think considerations of separation of powers are relevant. D's tax returns are not executive branch deliberations.

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Response to reACTIONary (Reply #40)

Tue Apr 16, 2019, 02:14 PM

41. Now we've come full circle

It's "explicitly provided for in the controlling legislation" - but there's no evidence provided that Congress had the power to pass that legislation in the first place. There's nothing at all special about being a "governmental organization" when you're in a different branch of government.

EPIC vs IRS is not on point

It certainly is for purposes of demonstrating that tax records are a privacy matter.

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #41)

Tue Apr 16, 2019, 02:54 PM

42. Since the purpose of the legislation...

... was to make tax returns "private" (they weren't before) what would it mean for Congress not to have the power to do so? It would mean mean that Congress could not so protect them, and that the executive branch could do what they want with them.

And since they don't involve executive branch policy deliberations, and since most of them would be preelection, executive privilege would not apply. So the request would be a normal request for government records for normal legislative oversight.

I don't see how that is going to help.

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Response to turbinetree (Original post)

Mon Apr 15, 2019, 12:37 PM

4. Oh, is there another definition of "shall"

shall verb
shəl, ˈshal
past should shəd , ˈshu̇d ; present singular and plural shall
Definition of shall
auxiliary verb
1 archaic
a : will have to : MUST
b : will be able to : CAN
2a —used to express a command or exhortation
you shall go
b —used in laws, regulations, or directives to express what is mandatory
it shall be unlawful to carry firearms

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Response to turbinetree (Original post)

Mon Apr 15, 2019, 12:37 PM

5. The law says....HAND THEM OVER, Steve......

What is there to analyze, Steve?

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Response to turbinetree (Original post)

Mon Apr 15, 2019, 12:45 PM

8. Lock him up

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Response to Gothmog (Reply #8)

Tue Apr 16, 2019, 08:29 AM

27. THIS!!!

Contempt of Congress...
Time for a "message cut" ... someone needs to be made an example of.

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Response to turbinetree (Original post)

Mon Apr 15, 2019, 02:02 PM

10. A wise Greek philosopher once said,

 

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Democrats playing by the rules and making nice, and sending polite letters to Republicans isn't going to cut it.

If people are pinning their hopes on changing everything when we win the next election, let's not forget some obstacles. Republicans commit election fraud, purge voters from voting, own and control the voting machines. Waiting to change everything in 2020 is implying that we are going to have a fair election.

The time to impeach Trump is now, waiting only makes it harder to remove him from office. The longer Democrats wait the worse it will be.

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Response to watoos (Reply #10)

Mon Apr 15, 2019, 03:02 PM

11. +1,000,000 This - although I don't consider impeachment a "desperate" measure; it should

be used for its intended purpose: for when the president commits impeachable offenses (as intended by the founders).

The impeachment of Bill Clinton was not done in the true spirit of impeachment; it was a political tactic.

To impeach Dump would be in the spirit of protecting the United States, as the founders intended, and would not be a political tactic.

Dubya should have been impeached -- maybe that would have slowed down the recycling of rethugs in subsequent administrations. As Dump's reign continues, climate change continues to worsen as policies move in the wrong direction -- something that was not at the edge of a precipice during the Nixon administration.

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Response to turbinetree (Original post)

Mon Apr 15, 2019, 04:33 PM

15. They're Trying To Invalidate The Law

By raising "constitutional issues", meaning the inherit powers of the President that places him above the law. This would be right out of the Barr playbook. But it is the job of the courts to make those determinations, not Barr. But tax returns belong to the individual, not the title of the individual so that is a strange defense.

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Response to DallasNE (Reply #15)

Mon Apr 15, 2019, 05:37 PM

16. Mostly correct

I doubt that the argument will be that the president is above the law (though no doubt that's Trump's starting point personally). It will likely be that Congress doesn't have the authority to look at someone's taxes (courts and law enforcement do when acting together), and that they lack the power to give themselves that power... and thus the law is unconstitutional.

But it is the job of the courts to make those determinations

Absolutely correct. But the way that courts make those determinations require an actual legal controversy. Someone has to attempt to enforce the law as written against someone who challenges it.

But tax returns belong to the individual

Which raises a third argument for the court to consider. Deprivation of property without due process of law.

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #16)

Mon Apr 15, 2019, 07:19 PM

19. The Law In Question Was Written In 1924

In response to the Teapot Dome scandal and the language is clear. It reads "shall" so it can only be challenged on constitutional grounds but the case law shows that it is not the role of the Court to determine the sincerity of the request from the legislative branch (separation of powers). And leaks of the data is a criminal act so there is recourse after the fact. That means it has to be challenged on the inherit power of the President but the subpoena is not for the tax returns of the President - it is for the Trump tax returns so what inherit powers are at stake. Indeed, why is the Justice Department involved it a legal matter for Donald Trump. Trump should be paying for his own defense and Barr has no dog in this hunt. To me it looks like an open and shut case - the Ways and Means Committee gets the tax returns on April 23.

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Response to DallasNE (Reply #19)

Mon Apr 15, 2019, 07:52 PM

20. Correct, but it has never been challenged

I'm not sure whether it has ever even been applied/used.

It reads "shall" so it can only be challenged on constitutional grounds

Untrue... though constitutional grounds are of course the strongest and two of the three paths I've considered are in that realm.

However - the chairman's letter is very carefully written. He clearly sees the danger. The question is whether it's persuasive.

Why do you think he wants to look at Trump's taxes?

but the case law shows that it is not the role of the Court to determine the sincerity of the request from the legislative branch (separation of powers)

What case law are you thinking of? The courts have definitely ruled in the past on whether or not Congress has the power to grant itself new powers... and they have definitely ruled on whether or not the exercise of a given power was done for a legitimate purpose.

That means it has to be challenged on the inherit power of the President

That doesn't follow. I don't see how the president's powers (whatever they are) enter into this at all except to the extent that the executive is the only one with standing to challenge the law (but the executive branch in the person of the DOJ and Treas... not the President)

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #20)

Mon Apr 15, 2019, 11:06 PM

24. Here Is An Article That Answers Some Of Your Questions

A. The House Ways & Means obtained Nixon's tax returns and they disclosed that Nixon was a tax cheat, owing nearly a half million in additional taxes.

B. The stated goal was to see if the IRS is in compliance with reviewing the President's tax return.

See the link below.

https://theweek.com/speedreads/835170/house-democrats-have-pretty-clear-legal-right-trumps-tax-returns-but-make-public

Chairman Neal's letter is probably the best source and it quotes case law where the Courts have stated they will not second guess Congress (top of page 2).

https://www.cnn.com/2019/04/13/politics/house-cmte-letter-to-irs/index.html?fbclid=IwAR0IUyvlcIhG54wCB9iW3x9j45I2Btd0N9lL717HxINDqHMm7z9-lfIZj_U

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Response to DallasNE (Reply #24)

Tue Apr 16, 2019, 11:29 AM

34. Not quite

A - I don't think that's correct. Nixon released his taxes, but that wasn't the result of this process. It was voluntary.

Well... "voluntary" like getting teeth pulled. But you may remember that a number of people have pointed out that Nixon released his taxes even though he was under audit at the time (in response to Trump's wild assertion that he can't release them while he's under audit).

B - I'm well aware of the "stated goal" used to justify the request. I'm asking why you think they want them. Clearly they wouldn't need to see actual returns in order to get testimony from Treasury regarding their process.

the Courts have stated they will not second guess Congres

Whoa... that's not what the courts have said at all. In fact, the first ruling that he cites (Watkins v. US) very definitely second-guessed Congress. What the courts actually said is that they can't question Congress' motivations if they are acting in furtherance of their constitutional powers.

And that's the open question. It's useful to note that this very same question came up in court with regard to Trump's "Muslim ban". Clearly the law allows the president to make such moves in general. The courts, however, ruled that his campaign statements about banning all Muslims were what drove his decisions, not an actual review of threats to the country (etc.). Yes, SCOTUS eventually ruled the other way, but only after the original policy was replaced with a new one that followed a more appropriate process. It's also worth noting that most here disagreed with that ruling even after the change.

This is why the chairman's letter is so carefully worded. We won't know whether it will work until the courts weigh in.
'

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Response to DallasNE (Reply #24)

Tue Apr 16, 2019, 11:35 AM

36. Thanks for posting those, nt

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Response to turbinetree (Original post)

Mon Apr 15, 2019, 05:52 PM

17. Spoiler:

It says to hand them over.

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Response to turbinetree (Original post)

Mon Apr 15, 2019, 06:43 PM

18. I hope to see Munckin

End up going to prison for his part in conspiring to cover up and obstruction of justice , along with William Barr. These people think they are above the law, and they should with others be made a example of , ad have serious consequences , or next time it will be much worse.

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Response to turbinetree (Original post)

Mon Apr 15, 2019, 09:14 PM

21. In other words: "We know the law requires me turn the forms over, I will delay it short of ...

risking jail."

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Response to turbinetree (Original post)

Tue Apr 16, 2019, 08:14 AM

25. Pondering 'shall'.

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Response to turbinetree (Original post)

Tue Apr 16, 2019, 08:23 AM

26. Desperately seeking a way

 

to protect his master without getting his own body parts caught in a wringer.

That's the only "analysis" going on.

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Response to turbinetree (Original post)

Tue Apr 16, 2019, 08:38 AM

29. Translation: "Okay, let's read it for the 17th time. Maybe we overlooked a loop-hole."

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Response to turbinetree (Original post)

Tue Apr 16, 2019, 09:46 AM

30. Analyze S-H-A-L-L

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