Hillary Clinton releases tax returns; will Trump follow suit?
Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton and her husband Bill released their 2015 income tax returns recently. The couple earned a combined income in excess of $10 million. Most of the money the power couple earned came from paid speaking engagements. They gave more than $1 million to charity. According to the Associated Press, the filing reveals that the Clintons are firmly a part of the top 0.1 percent of earners in the country, but they also paid more taxes than many of their peers — 34.2 percent of their income. Clinton’s running mate, Virgina senator Tim Kaine, also released his tax returns.
Clinton released her tax returns, according to the AP, as a way to pressure her Republican presidential rival, Donald Trump, to publicly disclose his own returns. Trump has said that he won’t be releasing them because he is being audited by the Internal Revenue Service.
A Donald Trump spokesman has said Clinton only released her tax returns to distract from issues such as her alleged misuse of a personal email server when she was the U.S. secretary of state.
"Hillary Clinton has turned over the only records nobody wants to see from her — the American public wants to see the 33,000 emails she deleted to obstruct an FBI investigation," said spokesman Jason Miller, according to the AP.
The New York Daily News noted that Clinton’s strategy does mirror one that President Obama’s campaign used back in 2012 to cast doubt on Mitt Romney’s business acumen.
Though Trump’s staff say that Clinton’s financial disclosure is a calculated distraction, even Trump’s own party members want him to release his tax returns. Former Massachusetts governor Romney, who was reluctant to release some of his tax documents during the 2012 election, has repeatedly urged Trump to release his tax returns, according to the New York Daily News.
The Huffington Post reports that Rep. Mark Sanford of South Carolina wrote an opinion piece for the New York Times urging Trump to be more transparent with his tax dealings. Sanford, who has said that he supports Trump, remarked in his opinion piece that if Trump doesn’t release his taxes, he may withdraw his support.
According to the Huffington Post, the Tax History Project said that every Republican presidential candidate since Richard Nixon has release their tax returns.