An anonymous Republican donor is offering to contribute $5 million to a veterans’ charity of Donald Trump’s choice if the billionaire celebrity releases his tax returns.
The offer was presented by David Brock, who runs a coterie of pro-Hillary Clinton groups and charged that Trump’s refusal to release his returns leaves voters to “only assume he’s playing fast and loose with the facts on how much he’s paid in taxes, how much he’s worth, how much money he’s made off of potentially fraudulent business schemes, how much he’s given to charity and more.”
The challenge issued to Trump states that if he releases his tax returns on or before Friday, the anonymous donor will contribute $5 million to a veteran’s charity. Brock said there is a signed legal commitment from the donor and that a bank-verified letter states the funds are available. He did not identify the donor, saying it was someone who has supported Republicans since Barry Goldwater.
“Every modern presidential candidate has been transparent on this basic hurdle and now Trump has another incentive to do the right thing,” Brock said.
Trump has resisted calls to release his tax returns, telling a TV interviewer in May that his tax rate is “none of your business” – though he’d be the first presidential nominee in 40 years to not release his returns. Trump has maintained that he can’t release copies of his recent tax returns because he’s currently being audited by the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS has said audits do not prevent individuals from releasing their tax returns.
Only Trump’s Democratic presidential rival Hillary Clinton has fully disclosed years worth of returns.
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who has angered Republicans and Democrats alike for voicing her dislike of Trump, seized on his refusal to release his tax returns, among other issues.
“How has he gotten away with not turning over his tax returns?” Ginsburg said to CNN in an interview in which she used the word “faker” to describe Trump. “The press seems to be very gentle with him on that."
Trump called for her to resign.
Tax experts and government watchdog groups say without the full returns, voters can’t see such items as sources of income, which tax breaks were claimed or what candidates might have deducted as business expenses or how much they gave to charity.
There is no requirement that candidates show their tax returns, but it has become common practice for White House seekers since Jimmy Carter became president in 1976.
The returns provide voters a look into the personal finances and charitable contributions of candidates and gives insight into whether he or she has any potential conflicts of interest.