Republican nominee Donald Trump is all but confirmed to be the first major nominee in decades to withhold his tax returns before a presidential election. Members of the business mogul's campaign confirmed this during a round of television appearances.
On Oct. 30, Trump’s running mate Republican Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana stated that Trump would not release his returns until an audit was complete during an interview with NBC News’ “Meet the Press.”
When host Chuck Todd pointed out that Trump had filed his 2016 tax return on Oct. 17 and that that disclosure will not be up for audit, Pence dismissed the suggestion that his running mate could release his latest tax return.
“He’ll release all of his tax returns when the final audit is completed,” Pence said.
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“All right, so not before the election?” Todd asked.
“Yeah,” Pence said, confirming that Trump will buck decades of precedent.
Since 1976, every major nominee has released his or her tax returns before an election day to provide voters with a clear view of the candidate's finances.
Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and former President Bill Clinton have released all of their tax returns going back to 1977 while Pence has released 10 years of his own returns, The Huffington Post reports.
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On Oct. 30, Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway told ABC News the campaign would not release the real estate developer's tax returns “until our accountants and our lawyers say that we should. We’re under audit.”
There is actually no law that prohibits someone from publicly disclosing tax returns while under audit. The IRS has officially stated that Trump is free to release his tax returns. Furthermore, the Trump campaign has declined to release physical proof the GOP nominee is even under audit, according to CBS News.
Until Trump releases his tax returns, there is no definitive way for voters to assess his actual income, his tax rate, and how much he has contributed to charity, the International Business Times reports.
During the vice presidential debate, Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia blasted Trump for not disclosing his tax returns.
“Donald Trump started this campaign in 2014, and he said, ‘If I run for president, I will absolutely release my taxes ... He’s broken his first promise,” Kaine said.
“He hasn’t broken his promise,” Pence fired back.
Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checker PolitiFact determined that Kaine’s statement was accurate and that Pence’s assertion that Trump had not broken his promise was false.