It seems that everyone in the world wants Donald Trump to release his tax returns, just like every other Presidential candidate has done since 1974. He refuses. But why? Someone that has actually seen Trump’s tax returns has a few ideas why.
The number one question involving Donald Trump’s tax returns today seems to be, does Donald Trump have ties to Russian oligarchs? The answer to that is not very clear. That’s a problem at this stage of a general election.
Being fuzzy about tax returns is not smiled on by the American people, who could face harsh fines, or worse, jail time, if they don’t release and disclose when required to do so. With more and more news comes out every day highlighting the connections between the Trump camp and offshore financial exchanges, fewer and fewer people are smiling when thinking about Donald Trump and tax returns.
Most people think that if you’re generally supposed to provide tax returns, and you don’t, it seems a little sketchy. Even Donald Trump said himself, as you can see in this video here, from his own mouth, that not providing tax returns seems sketchy.
Here's why Donald Trump might be refusing to release his tax returns: https://t.co/M4MSBonNyo— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) August 12, 2016
But here he is today, being beckoned by everyone from Mitt Romney to Ted Cruz to William Buffet to provide his tax returns. And he won’t. Why?
Vanity Fair reported this week that it may have something to do with his substantial wealth. But that doesn’t make much sense. He seems to be actively hiding something. When someone consistently refuses to provide information that everybody else has already provided, there’s a reason for that.
Nobody thinks Donald Trump is pretending to be wealthy. We all know he is wealthy. But Vanity Fair notes the perception of his wealth may be the reason he’s hiding his tax returns.
Every Presidential candidate is required to provide financial disclosure to the election commission, or the FEC, Federal Election Commission. Donald Trump’s was 92 pages long. In it, Vanity Fair notes Trump identified himself as the President.
He can’t even shoot from the hip on that filing. Hillary Clinton did, referring to herself as “Candidate for President.” Trump’s assets in his filing listed $1.5 billion of assets, $787 million tied in real estate and hotels, golf businesses worth $58 million, vineyards and entertainment businesses worth $10 million in total.
He also reported about $68 million in airlines he owns. That’s interesting, since the Trump camp has even lied about his own airlines, according to the Washington Post. But we’ll put a pin on that one for a moment.
These numbers on his FEC filing are a far cry from his July, 2015, statements that he was worth $10 billion. Fortune Magazine only pegs him at $3.9 billion as of this past May. Is he lying about his income? That could be one reason he hasn’t shown his hand in tax returns yet.
But even that doesn’t make sense. Who cares what his actual income is? If he fudged his income, it wouldn’t be that big a transgression to the American people. And the few supporters he has left simply wouldn’t care.
So, is he lying about something else? Is it really possible he just wants us to respect his tax return privacy? The answer from almost everyone everywhere is, no, he’s hiding something. If he wasn’t, why not just show them?
Donald Trump has given the old “I’m being audited” excuse. This alone should be raising more eyebrows than it is. Why is he being audited?
Forbes Magazine recently reported that there are 15 ways to invite an IRS Audit. Maybe you claimed really big charitable donations, maybe you lied about your income. Maybe you had some nefarious offshore financial dealings that the IRS wants some clarity on.
Maybe you didn’t pay taxes. Hillary Clinton is getting the message out very clearly, do we even know if he pays the right taxes?
America depends on tax dollars for revenue. Hiding money offshore so you don’t have to pay taxes on your income is a bad, bad thing.
Engaging in financial exchanges with offshore countries considered enemies by the United States is also considered a bad thing. But primarily it’s only bad if you are running for President of the United States.
The average American could get millions of dollars in cash handouts from the Ukraine, for example, and not get in much trouble. All you need to do is declare it on your tax return.
An American involved in a Presidential campaign, though, that does that, is going to raise some eyebrows. It’s kind of a no-no from a foreign policy perspective.
Oddly enough, that’s exactly what happened to Trump’s campaign manager, according to news that broke today. Is that why Donald Trump is hiding his taxes?
We don’t know for sure. We know Donald Trump says he won’t release them because he’s being audited.
But they’ve already been filed. So why doesn’t he just release what has been filed, and then re-release come the audit? It’s not that they don’t exist, as he is kind of suggesting under the audit guise. They do.
If he was involved in a court case where financial disclosure was required, he would be ordered to provide the filed returns, and then the amended ones once the audit was complete. The Telegraph reported August 13 that Donald Trump says, he is being audited, and his lawyers have told him not to release them.
The Telegraph also says that the IRS has said it’s not illegal to release unaudited tax returns to the public. The IRS says go ahead, we just can’t do it for you.
So if Donald Trump is saying he can’t legally do it, that just is not true. His running mate is starting to get itchy about this. Vice President hopeful Mike Pence has released his tax returns.
This has never happened. Most Vice President hopefuls and Presidential hopefuls release them together, like Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine did last week. The Vice President hopeful doesn’t do it on his own. But in his own awkward moment, he did.
Lies about charitable donations are another very common reason that it is suspected that Donald Trump is not releasing his tax returns. This is one theory that actually makes sense.
He does in fact seem to have a history of lying about how charitable he is, or isn’t. The New Republic reported this year that, Donald Trump promised $1 million dollars to veterans at a veteran’s charity.
Then he didn’t do it. Then the Washington Post published that information. Then he began sending money.
Over 10 years it seems, Donald Trump has promised almost $9 million to charity. But, the Washington Post has found, he’s actually given less than $10,000.
So, has he lied about this on his tax returns? Did he say he gave $9 million, when he didn’t? It may not be why he won’t disclose his returns, but it could very well be one of the reasons he is being audited.
It certainly wouldn’t be the first time he got caught in a charitable lie. Does anyone remember the time his long time supporter, conservative radio host Sean Hannity, told the world during Trump’s primary campaign that Trump flew Marine servicemen home from the Gulf War in the 1990s because they were stranded without transportation? This is what Trump Airlines actually looks like.
That’s not what the plane looked like that rescued the stranded servicemen. But Sean Hannity told that story, and published it, and broadcasted it, because the Trump campaign confirmed to him that this had indeed happened. The Washington Post looked into that. Donald Trump failed the Pinocchio test on that one, too.
A plane from an airline named Trump Airline did in fact fly stranded Marine men home from the Gulf War in 1991. But, Donald Trump did not own that airline at the time, didn’t even know men were stranded, or have anything to do with their rescue.
The plane used in this transportation crisis was a plane from a fleet that Trump once owned, but had been seized by the banks. Trump still owns airplanes today. But they don’t even look like the plane used to rescue servicemen. This video shows the truth about that airline, with, as you can see, a completely different kind of plane.
Sean Hannity of the Trump camp has some explaining to do about that one, as does the Trump camp. So what are the chances that Donald Trump lied about charities on his tax returns? Sounds like, those odds, in direct contrast to his odds of winning the Presidency, get stronger every day.
Trump’s odds do get slimmer every day. In the few swing states that are still up for grabs, Trump has no ads running and no ground campaign in motion. Further, if we added up all of the electoral college votes in states where Hillary Clinton holds a 10 point lead at least, her tally comes to 273.
That’s a win. And Trump’s numbers fall every day. Perhaps that is the real reason he hasn’t provided his tax returns is that he knows there’s no point at this point.
He’s already claiming the election is rigged two and a half months out. Most pundits are saying that’s because he knows he will lose, so that he can say, “Don’t you remember when I said the election was rigged way back in August?”
Will he ever produce his tax returns? Tim O’Brien, executive editor of Bloomberg View, and “one of the few people who have actually seen Donald Trump’s tax returns,” spoke to MSNBC on August 12 about the issue of the tax returns. Watch the whole video here, you may be surprised by his thoughts on Donald Trump’s tax returns, and his overall behavior in the general election thus far.
Jamil Smith of MTV News says here, Donald Trump is doing exactly the opposite of what he needs to do — while all of this is working out very well for Hillary Clinton. What do you think? Do you think we will ever see his tax returns?
[Photo by Jae C. Hong/AP Images]