Politics

Trump Officially Ends 40-Year Tax Tradition

| by Lauren Briggs

Short of a sudden change of heart and expedited last-minute breaking news, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has officially broken the four-decade bipartisan tradition of presidential nominees releasing their tax returns during their campaigns.

The real estate developer has been accused of lacking transparency by not upholding the tradition, and his actions have raised questions about his net worth and his tax rate, notes The Huffington Post. Although his campaign said in July 2015, shortly after he announced his candidacy, that his net worth is higher than $10 billion, Forbes listed his net worth at the time at $4.5 billion and then later re-evaluated and lowered that number to $3.7 billion in 2016.

Others have questioned whether Trump is concealing certain business dealings in adversarial countries like Russia.

"I think people don't care" about the returns, Trump told ABC News in September. "I don't think anybody cares, except some members of the press."

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Trump said at the time that he has provided the "most extensive financial review of anybody in the history of politics" but cannot publicly release his returns, since he is under "routine audit."

"We'll release all the information on our tax records, Donald Trump will release his tax returns when his audit is done," said Trump's running mate, Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana. "But I believe this is all a distraction by many in the media who simply don't want to focus on this widening scandal around the Clinton Foundation and this pay-to-play program that happened during [Democratic nominee] Hillary Clinton's years as secretary of state."

The last presidential nominee to not release tax returns was President Gerald Ford, the Republican who replaced President Richard Nixon following the Watergate scandal, notes PolitiFact. Although Ford ran for re-election in 1976 -- and eventually lost to Democrat Jimmy Carter -- Ford never released the entirety of his returns. He did release a summary of them from 1966 to 1974, which included his total income and the total tax he paid.

Sources: The Huffington Post, ABC News, PolitiFact / Photo credit: Michael Vadon/Flickr

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