The now two-time presidential hopeful Senator Bernie Sanders, following growing public pressure, has agreed to release his tax returns by Monday’s April 15 tax deadline, The Hill reports. In an interview with The New York Times, Sanders used the announcement as an opportunity to apply pressure to President Donald Trump, who has likewise faced substantial criticism for an ongoing refusal to share his personal and business tax returns.
“On the day in the very immediate future, certainly before April 15, we release ours, I hope that Donald Trump will do exactly the same,” Sanders said.
While there is no shortage of speculation when it comes to what might be hidden within Trump’s returns, even critics of Sanders have been hard-pressed to speculate as to why the self-described socialist would be so reluctant to release his own taxes.
In the New York Times interview, there may have been some unexpected light shed on one issue that might be a hard pill to swallow for many supporters: Bernie Sanders is rich.
After a career in politics built largely around advocating for everyday Americans in the face of growing wealth disparities driven by the country’s wealthiest citizens, many Sanders supporters may find themselves surprised to learn that their populist hero is indeed one of the financial elites.
As part of the announcement that the returns would be forthcoming, Sanders prepared his supporters for the news of his personal wealth, attributing his financial success to the publication of his book, Where We Go From Here, which was published last year.
“I wrote a best-selling book,” he said. “If you write a best-selling book, you can be a millionaire, too.”
In any case, it appears that voters will soon have the opportunity to see in detail Sanders’ financial situation.
Trump, on the other hand, has shown no signs of succumbing to pressure to release his own returns, a refusal that began even prior to the start of his campaign and now stretching to the present day. So far, the president has refused to share his taxes on the basis of an ongoing IRS audit. Yet as far back as 2014, before he had even announced his run for president, Trump was telling voters that he would release the returns.
“I would release tax returns,” Trump told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt in 2014. “I have no objection to certainly showing tax returns.”
Trump’s failure to provide the returns voluntarily for what has now dragged on for years has prompted Democratic opponents, namely Congressman Richard Neal, who is chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, to look for ways to compel him to do so. Neal has now formally requested that the IRS deliver to his committee the president’s returns on the basis of a law that allows him, as chair, to request tax returns from any taxpayer.