Mnuchin: Trump Won't Release Tax Info
04/27/2017 06:13:00 AM
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Mnuchin: Trump Won't Release Tax Info 04/27 06:12
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Donald Trump "has no intention" of releasing
his tax returns to the public, says Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, asserting
Americans have "plenty of information" about the president's financial matters.
For decades, presidents have released their tax returns. But Trump has so
far refused, saying that he would share the tax documents only after the
Internal Revenue Service completes an "audit" of them. He's never disclosed
proof of an audit and tax lawyers say there's nothing preventing him from
releasing his returns if he's under one.
Trump said before he launched his campaign that he'd release them if he ever
ran for office.
"If I decide to run for office, I'll produce my tax returns, absolutely," he
told an Irish television station in 2014. "And I would love to do that."
Mnuchin appeared to close the door completely Wednesday.
"The president has no intention. The president has released plenty of
information and I think has given more financial disclosure than anybody else.
I think the American population has plenty of information," he said,
inaccurately characterizing the president's disclosures.
The comment came as the secretary briefed reporters on the president's new
proposal to overhaul taxes. Democrats have sought to use the tax debate to
pressure Trump to release his returns, arguing the information is necessary to
evaluate how Trump's tax proposals would affect his personal wealth and his
business' bottom line.
Mnuchin declined to comment on how Trump would benefit from his proposals.
He and other administration officials left the room as reporters shouted
questions about how the plan would affect the Trump family.
Trump, a billionaire, owns a global real estate, marketing and property
management company, which at the start of his presidency he placed in a trust
that he can revoke at any time. His daughter and son-in-law, both White House
advisers, are also holding onto significant business assets. And Trump's adult
sons run his Trump Organization.
Trump officials have offered varying explanations for why the president does
not disclosure his returns.
White House senior counselor Kellyanne Conway said in a television interview
in January that the fact that he won the election without putting out the
information shows that "people didn't care" about it.
Trump's sons Eric and Donald Trump Jr. have made similar points in various
interviews, though recent polling suggests otherwise.
There's evidence the president has been thinking about the issue in recent
weeks. He asked his friend and Las Vegas business partner Phil Ruffin, a fellow
billionaire, whether he should put out the returns, Ruffin said.
"I advised him not to," Ruffin said. "It's a waste of time, and he'll spend
years explaining them and never get to accomplishing any of his goals."
Ruffin said he told the president that Democrats would hire "armies of
accountants" to pore over the documents and "make an issue out of any and
Even with Mnuchin's seemingly definitive answer, the issue of Trump's tax
returns isn't likely to go away. Democrats have threatened to hold up his tax
proposals until they see the returns.
Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., called Trump's
tax plan "unprincipled" --- and one that "will result in cuts for the one
percent, conflicts for the president, crippling debt for America and crumbs for
the working people."
Democrats also have been pushing for a vote on a bill that would require the
president and all major-party nominees to publicly disclose their previous
three years of tax returns to the Office of Government Ethics or the Federal
On Wednesday, Democratic members of the House Committee on Oversight and
Government Reform sent a letter to Chairman Jason Chaffetz requesting that he
allow a vote on the Presidential Tax Transparency Act.
"As Members of Congress, we have the ability and duty to legislate in order
to promote government transparency, combat conflicts of interest, and ensure
compliance with the Constitution," they wrote.
Sen. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, a Democrat, also slammed Trump's tax plan
as "a half-baked collection of ideas that add up to a huge giveaway to Donald
Trump and his rich friends."
"If your last name is Trump," he added, "this plan is great for your bottom
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