Pennsylvania Auditor General on Trump: “What Is He Hiding?”

Eugene DePasquale today called on Donald Trump to release his tax returns. Trump has said he will not, as candidates have since the 1970s.

Eugene Depasquale (left); Donald Trump

Eugene DePasquale has made a name for himself by releasing his expenses online — first when he was a state representative, and now as auditor general. Today, he called on Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump to release his tax returns.

“Donald Trump should not get a free pass on this,” DePasquale, a Democrat, said on a conference call organized by the Hillary Clinton campaign. “His entire candidacy hinges on his business record.”

For decades, most presidential candidates have released their tax returns. Every presidential candidate since 1980, when Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan ran, have released their taxes — though some have only released redacted returns.

Clinton’s campaign today released a slew of tax returns for Clinton and her running made, Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine. Clinton’s campaign says she and Bill have made their returns public since 1977.

Trump has said he can’t release his taxes because he’s being audited. It was Richard Nixon who first released his tax returns, after his election, because he was being audited. (Legal experts surveyed by LawNewz.com say they’d advise clients to not release their tax returns while under audit.)

Trump has also said it’s not the voters’ business what he paid in taxes.

“When you run for president, your life is an open book,” DePasquale said. “Maybe we don’t want to know what he eats for dinner every night, but his tax rate: that lets you know a lot about him. And it’s important for the public to see that … as a self-proclaimed billionaire and presidential candidate who might be playing little or no taxes, we deserve to know that.”

Trump, DePasquale noted, had no issue handing over his tax returns to Pennsylvania regulators when he was bidding for a casino in Nicetown. Per a Rasmussen Reports poll, 67 percent of all U.S. voters want presidential candidates to release their tax returns.

Many have speculated what is in Trump’s returns that he won’t release them. The New York Times theorized earlier this week that Trump may pay nothing in taxes.

“I would expect he’s paying little or no tax,” Steven M. Rosenthal, a veteran tax lawyer and senior fellow at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy center, told the Times. “Real estate is notorious for throwing off huge deductions.” DePasquale was blunt on Trump not releasing his returns: “To me, there’s really only one question to ask on that: What is he hiding?”

“Donald Trump should not get a free pass on this,” he said. “His entire candidacy hinges on his business record.”

DePasquale is running in November for a second term (he was unopposed in the primary). He said he would release his tax returns to reporters. “If people want to see it, they can see it,” he said. “Obviously, I’ll cross off my kids’ Social Security numbers, but I’m more than happy to show you … I will guarantee it’s not nearly as exciting as what Donald Trump has in his.

“One thing I can assure you is I’m not doing business with Vladimir Putin. But I am doing a lot of business with the 529 funds to help put my kids through college.”

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