The presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump, does not believe he is obligated to release his tax returns before the November election. Former Republican Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts has called the decision disqualifying.
On May 11, Trump remarked during an interview with The Associated Press that it was unlikely that he would release his tax returns before the general election, adding, “There's not to learn from them.”
The business mogul has maintained that his income taxes since 2009 have been undergoing a routine Internal Revenue Service audit, hampering his efforts to make them public.
An individual can still disclose tax returns during an audit, according to NPR.
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Adding to the irregularity of Trump’s attitude is that presidential nominees have made at least one year of their tax returns public since 1976.
Romney, who was the GOP nominee in 2012, took to Facebook to blast Trump for his alleged lack of transparency.
“It is disqualifying for a modern-day presidential nominee to refuse to release tax returns to the voters, especially one who has not been subject to public scrutiny in either military or public service,” Romney wrote.
The former governor explained that tax returns are important disclosures because they “provide the public with its sole confirmation of the veracity of a candidate’s representations regarding charities, priorities, wealth, tax conformance, and conflicts of interest.”
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Romney added that tax returns can reveal “inappropriate associations with foreign entities, criminal organizations, or other unsavory groups ... There is only one logical explanation for Mr. Trump’s refusal to release his returns: there is a bombshell in them.”
Romney only released two years of his tax returns before the 2012 general election and after tremendous pressure from critics.
“Mitt Romney got forced into it,” Michael Cohen, a Trump aide, told CNN. “He didn’t have the backbone like Donald Trump does.”
It is not clear if Cohen’s statement implies that Trump will have the backbone not to disclose his tax returns.
Romney has been a fierce critic of Trump in the past. In March, when Trump was still battling it out in the GOP primary against several competitors, Romney held a press conference to slam the front-runner as “a fraud.”