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Political Editors / February 25, 2016

Trump’s Tax (Return) Evasion

“People have a right to know if there’s a problem in those taxes.”

Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney stepped into the path of the “Trump Freight Train” this week, challenging him to release tax records from recent years because, “[Voters] have a right to know if there’s a problem in those taxes before they decide.” Romney, who released his own records with some reluctance in 2012, insists that the billionaire’s failure to disclose tax returns suggest he’s hiding something — maybe that he is not a billionaire.

> “I think we have good reason to believe that there’s a bombshell in Donald Trump’s taxes. I think there’s something there. Either he’s not anywhere near as wealthy as he says he is or he hasn’t been paying the kind of taxes we would expect him to pay or perhaps he hasn’t been giving money to the vets or the disabled like he’s been telling us he’s been doing. And the reason I think there is a bombshell in there is because every time he’s asked about his taxes, he dodges and delays and says, ‘Well we’re working on it.’”

Trump has founded his campaign on two claims: He’s rich and he’s a populist — and the polls prove the latter. However, the question of his finances has been a flash point for years. In 2011, Trump lost a lawsuit and his appeal on that decision when he took offense that an author claimed he was worth only $250 million. The New Jersey appeals court ruled, “There were no significant internal inconsistencies in the information provided by the confidential sources, nor was there ‘reliable’ information that contradicted their reports.”

But more important for defenders of Liberty is the question of what organizations Trump supported over time. Did his money end up in the coffers of groups opposing Second Amendment rights or other liberal causes? Perhaps some of that money ended up in the hands of Michael Bloomberg? We know the Trump Foundation sent six figures to the Clinton Foundation, and he personally supported Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. Trump says his tax returns are complicated and in prior years, has released information so redacted that nobody could discern anything from it. And in last night’s debate, he insisted that he can’t release them because he’s being audited.

On Monday, Mark Alexander will post a special edition, “The Most Taxing Questions for Trump,” including an open letter requesting very basic documentation for each of the last five years: 1. Net Income; 2. C-3 and C-4 contributions; 3. Federal and state taxes paid: 4. Net worth. This information must be certified by an independent accounting firm.

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