Don­ald Trump should re­lease his tax re­turns

So Don­ald Trump is a loser. A huge loser. The New York Times rev­e­la­tion that he de­clared a $916 mil­lion loss on his 1995 tax re­turns — and may have avoided pay­ing fed­eral taxes ever since — makes it dou­bly im­per­a­tive that he re­lease his full tax re­turns,

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It’s im­per­a­tive that Don­ald Trump re­lease his full tax re­turns, as can­di­dates have done since the 1970s.

Repub­li­can Party lead­ers should in­sist on it. They also should in­sist that Trump put his busi­ness in­ter­ests into a blind trust if he wins, as ev­ery pres­i­dent has since 1963.

No one is sug­gest­ing that Trump’s tax strat­egy is il­le­gal. The loss of nearly $1 bil­lion in­stead calls into ques­tion just how good a busi­ness­man he re­ally is. As to the claim that he’ll be able to close tax loop­holes be­cause he knows where they are: The tax plan he has re­leased sure doesn’t do that. It will be ex­traor­di­nar­ily ben­e­fi­cial to his fam­ily busi­ness at the ex­pense of mid­dle-class and low-in­come Amer­i­cans.

The past few weeks have laid bare not only Trump’s tawdry per­sonal con­duct but ques­tion­able busi­ness strate­gies, in­clud­ing what Newsweek al­leges was an il­le­gal at­tempt to do busi­ness in Cuba while the U.S. em­bargo was in ef­fect.

Tax re­turns won’t show all. But they would show whether he is as rich as he says, paid as much in taxes as he says and gives to char­ity as much as he says he does. It would show how much money he owes Rus­sian or other for­eign busi­nesses or in­di­vid­u­als who can use this as lever­age to con­trol U.S. for­eign pol­icy.

This is par­tic­u­larly fright­en­ing be­cause Trump doesn’t plan to put his busi­ness em­pire into a blind trust to avoid con­flicts of in­ter­est. He says he’ll put his kids in charge. That’s lu­di­crous. If he thinks it’s smart to avoid pay­ing taxes, he’ll think it’s smart to ne­go­ti­ate trade deals that help his com­pa­nies.

Back­ers such as for­mer New York Mayor Rudy Guil­iani and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Trump’s busi­ness his­tory proves he’s a “ge­nius.” Maybe, when it comes to look­ing out for him­self. What about the hun­dreds of in­vestors in the com­pany who lost their money, or the con­trac­tors who didn’t get paid for their work?

Bankrup­tcy is a le­gal re­course when in­di­vid­u­als or busi­nesses get too deeply in debt. But it is not some­thing to be proud of as a strat­egy.

Trump’s fail­ures in­clude Trump Casi­nos, Trump Air­lines, Trump En­ter­tain­ment Re­sorts, Trump Vodka, Trump Mort­gage and the in­fa­mous Trump Univer­sity, which gouged strug­gling vet­er­ans and other in­di­vid­u­als hop­ing to get ahead.

Mean­while, on Monday the New York At­tor­ney Gen­eral or­dered the Trump Foun­da­tion to im­me­di­ately stop so­lic­it­ing do­na­tions over ques­tions about its cer­ti­fi­ca­tion and how it spends its money.

Don­ald Trump’s en­tire cam­paign is based on his acu­men as a busi­ness­man. Re­leas­ing his tax re­turns will let vot­ers judge for them­selves. He would, if they were some­thing to be proud of.

Don­ald Trump’s en­tire cam­paign is based on his acu­men as a busi­ness­man. Re­leas­ing his tax re­turns will let vot­ers judge for them­selves. He would, if they were some­thing to be proud of.

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