Donald Trump has maintained for seven months that he cannot release his tax returns because he is being audited by the Internal Revenue Service, making him the first major-party nominee for president since President Gerald Ford to withhold such records from the public.
Last week, his son Donald Trump Jr. gave a different excuse for not releasing the documents, saying the returns would be “distracting.”
With so much speculation surrounding them, the GOP nominee and wealthy businessman’s tax filings may just be the most wanted information of the 2016 campaign.
While Trump insists that voters “don’t care” about his returns, journalists, Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton and many voters insist the public wants to see them. New York Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet and Washington Post Associate Editor Bob Woodward told a Harvard University forum this month they would love to publish Trump’s returns if someone leaked them, even if it meant serving jail time. Some Americans have wondered whether Trump actually paid any taxes during some years — and if he is as rich as he says he is.
“If someone were to release the returns right now, they might be able to change the outcome of the election,” said Joseph Thorndike, a tax historian and director of the non-partisan Tax History Project at Tax Analysts. “It’s a very tempting prospect.”
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