Clinton Tax Return Released: Will Donald Trump Do The Same?

Early Friday morning, Hillary Clinton released her 2015 tax return, which places even greater pressure on Donald Trump to do the same by releasing his own. While the Clinton/Kaine campaign has been fairly open about the personal finances of both Clinton and Kaine, Republican nominee Donald Trump has been very reluctant to follow their example by releasing his 2015 tax return.

As reported by CNN, the most interesting aspect of the Democratic nominee’s tax return is how uninteresting it is. No doubt much to their disappointment, Clinton’s 2015 tax information provides no major mudslinging ammunition for the Republican Party or the Trump campaign.

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Hillary Clinton’s income tax return is, in fact, remarkably innocuous. Not only are there no bombshells, such as questionable tax dodges or mysterious sources of income, the Clintons seem overly generous in attempting to ensure that the federal government gets every dime possible.

Democratic presidential nominee former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her husband former U.S. president Bill Clinton greet supporters.
Democratic presidential nominee former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her husband former U.S. president Bill Clinton greet supporters. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Hillary Clinton’s actual combined income with her husband, Bill, for 2015 was $10.6 million, which is much less than half of what they made the previous year. The Clinton’s paid $3.24 million in taxes. Based on their overall gross income, this means they had an effective tax rate of 34 percent. This is quite a bit higher than most people in their income bracket.

An examination of the return reveals that, unlike many in the highest tax bracket, the Clinton’s have very few major deductions and pay far more in actual taxes than most people at their income level. Their largest deduction was for a $100,000 charitable donation to the Clinton Foundation.

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The question now is whether Donald Trump will release his 2015 tax return. So far, Donald Trump has resisted all calls by those outside and inside of the Republican Party to be more transparent about his finances and financial connections. In fact, during an interview with George Stephanopoulos, Trump flatly refused to release even his current tax rate.

Donald Trump speaks to the National Association of Home Builders.
Donald Trump speaks to the National Association of Home Builders. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Many have questioned Trump’s reluctance to release his tax return, suggesting that he may have secrets in these documents he doesn’t want to reveal to the public. It may be that Donald Trump has exaggerated just how wealthy he actually is. Trump often makes wild claims that he’s worth approximately $10 billion, but a number of experts think this is highly unlikely.

But is it merely a question of ego, or does Donald Trump have some other reason for not wanting to release his tax return? Some have suggested that Trump has other darker secrets hidden in his financial documents and tax return that he definitely doesn’t want the public to know about.

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For instance, there have been rumors for years that Donald Trump has close ties to organized crime. These rumors have been partly fueled by Trump’s foray into the casino industry and the associations he has formed in the process. As reported by CNN, Trump has confirmed close connections to the mob in New York City. Perhaps Trump’s unsavory relationships would be revealed on his tax return.

Graffiti depicting Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
Graffiti depicting Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis)

Others have suggested that Trump’s association with Russia and Vladimir Putin are much closer than anyone imagines. As pointed out by the New York Times, one of Donald Trump’s campaign associates, Paul Manafort, has very close ties to Russia.

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Manafort has worked for or with a number of Putin associates in both Russia and the Ukraine. Perhaps this explains Trump’s near adoration of the Russian dictator. Maybe some of this would be hinted at on Trump’s tax return.

With Hillary Clinton’s release of her 2015 tax return and the lack of any evident skeletons, Trump will be under even greater pressure to respond in kind. But given his frequent refusals and the possibility that the release of his tax return would reveal things Trump would rather we didn’t know, it seems unlikely he will release this document anytime soon.

[Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images]