Even though it’s not required by law, almost all major presidential candidates, frontrunners and official party nominees have traditionally released tax returns.
But not Donald Trump.
Over the course of his year-long election campaign, if there’s one thing the Republican presidential candidate has been thoroughly consistent about — besides lying to the people — it is his outright refusal to release his tax returns because he is under audit.
It’s an odd excuse, considering an audit didn’t prevent former U.S. president Richard Nixon from publicly releasing his tax returns in 1973.
Many of Trump’s political rivals have called on him several times to disclose at least recent information from his income-tax returns but to no avail. Most recently, billionaire investor Warren Buffett directly challenged the media mogul to release his tax returns.
“I will meet him in Omaha or Mar-a-Lago or, he can pick the place, anytime between now and election. I'll bring my return, he'll bring his return," Buffett said. "We're both under audit. And believe me, nobody's going to stop us from talking about what's on those returns.”
“There’s nothing to learn from them,” Trump told reporters in May.
Well, that’s not entirely true since a lot of people are highly skeptical about the amount of wealth Trump possesses. And if he is as rich and honest as he claims, then the revelation of his tax mysteries will only benefit the man himself.
So, why isn’t he releasing the figures?
There’s no definite answer, unfortunately. Just theories.
For instance, the most popular one is revolves around Trump’s alleged ties to the mafia. In February, former Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz drew attention to this long-standing speculation during an appearance on “Meet The Press.”
“Maybe it is the case that Donald — there have been multiple media reports about Donald's business dealings with the mob, with the mafia," Cruz told Chuck Todd. “Maybe his taxes show those business dealings.”
In May, former Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney hinted at the same theory in a Facebook post:
A lot of Trump’s critics also believe the real-estate mogul’s tax returns would reveal his ties with Russia. And ever since Trump brazenly called on Russia to hack Clinton’s email last month, this particular rumor has gained a lot more popularity.
Then there’s this widely accepted theory that Trump is not really worth $10 billion, as he so often brags about:
Different estimates reported in the past year by Forbes and Fortune magazines peg Trump’s actually worth at less than $5 billion and his tax returns could confirm the figures.
Banner/thumbnail credit: Reuters, Carlo Allegri