More than a million people signed an online petition on the White House website calling for President Donald Trump to release his tax returns. The petition ended Sunday, but it broke the record as the most popular petition ever posted.
An Obama administration rule requires the government to respond within 60 days if a petition has more than 100,000 signatures. This particular petition broke that threshold in less than 24 hours. The description outlines the issues some Americans have with Trump’s refusal to make his tax documents public.
“The unprecedented economic conflicts of this administration need to be visible to the American people, including any pertinent documentation which can reveal the foreign influences and financial interests which may put Donald Trump in conflict with the emoluments clause of the Constitution,” the petition reads.
Trump has been the only major party presidential nominee to not release his tax documents in modern history, with the one exception being Gerald Ford in 1976. Ford did release a summary of his taxes.
Regardless of the petition’s popularity, the Trump administration is unlikely to release the president’s tax returns. Trump has used numerous excuses during the campaign as to why he will not, including a lack of public interest and an inability to release the IRS documents while under audit.
According to the IRS, Trump’s most used argument is not accurate. An ABC News/Washington Post poll released in January revealed that 74 percent of the American people do want Trump to release his returns.
Democrats have proposed legislation that would require Trump to release his tax information. However, with Republicans in control of both legislative chambers, bills of this nature will most likely be shot down quickly and resolutely.
One Republican senator made headlines during the last 24 hours when she linked Trump’s tax returns to potential investigations into Russian interference. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said she may be open to the possibility of forcing Trump to release his returns if it was relevant to an investigation.
“If it’s necessary to get to the answers then I suspect we would,” Collins said.
However, Collins did note that the disclosure may not be needed. The White House is expected to also decide that releasing Trump’s tax returns is also not needed.
[Huffington Post] [Politifact] [The Hill] [Washington Post] [Photo courtesy Getty Images via BBC]