It was May 20, 2014 when Donald Trump told an Irish television station that he would “absolutely” release his tax returns if he decided to run for President.
“If I decide to run for office, I’ll produce my tax returns, absolutely,” Trump insisted. “And I would love to do that.”
Fast-forward more than 4 years, and today we stand here as a nation, wondering where the heck Trump’s tax returns are. Over and over again during the Presidential campaign, Trump insisted that he was working to release these much requested documents which would provide the country with further details on his finances. It never happened, yet Trump still blew through the Republican primaries and went on to defeat Hillary Clinton in the general election.
Today we sit here wondering if we will ever get to see the tax returns that Donald Trump ultimately promised we would have a chance to review. It’s highly unlikely that Trump, himself, will ever release the returns, given he was able to win an election without them. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that all hope is lost.
On Thursday, we learned that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was willing to authorize a criminal referral on the Trump Foundation. Additionally New York State tax officials opened up an investigation into the Trump Foundation to determine if state laws were violated. If it is determined that there is sufficient evidence that the Trump Foundation, which was run by Donald Trump and included Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, and Ivanka Trump on their board of directors, violated state tax laws, then the investigation could be handed over to prosecutors to pursue criminal charges.
If criminal charges are sought, that would open up a real possibility of President Trump’s tax returns being released, not only to investigators, but to the public as well.
Zephyr Teachout, who is a Fordham University law professor running to become New York Attorney General, called for New York to seek criminal charges against the Trump Foundation. She says that if a criminal case is brought, it could allow Trump’s personal tax returns to become public.
Suddenly it has become a very real possibility that prior to the 2020 election, Trump’s tax returns could be made public, against his own will.